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Afghan refugees won’t be expelled, assures Baloch

Afghan refugees won’t be expelled, assures Baloch

Feb 27, 2018 - 13:59

PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): Pakistan, encouraging voluntary repatriation, has promised Afghan refugees will not be forced into leaving in the country

The legal stay of around 1.4 million documented refugees in Pakistan will expire on March 31, with a new extension in their stay unlikely.

Minister for States and Frontier Regions Abdul Qadir Baloch said his country was dealing with the refugee issue on humanitarian grounds.

Addressing participants of the Track II Dialogue in Islamabad on Monday, he said Pakistan was also hosting nearly a million unregistered Afghans.

He said: “The refugees have nothing to do with the security situation. No serious security problem has been witnessed between local communities and refugees.”

Baloch added Pakistan is working in close coordination with the UN refugee agency and the Afghan embassy on the dignified return of Afghans.

Earlier in the day, Afghan delegates warned the government in Kabul would not be able to accommodate millions of refugees if they were forced to leave Pakistan.

In response, Baloch said: “Educational and health facilities are available to Afghan refugees in Pakistan. I am glad to know 50,000 people educated in Pakistan are currently serving in Afghanistan.”

UNHCR representative Ruven Menikdiwela supported Pakistan’s idea that those who wanted to stay in Pakistan should get Afghan passports.”

She remarked: “We cannot vouch for every individual refugee. We say if there are bad guys, deal with them according to law but don’t bracket everyone with terrorists.”