CHITRAL, Aug 11: About two-thirds of the Chitrali youths who had gone to Afghanistan in search of jobs have returned to their valleys and the process of repatriating the rest will be completed next week.

This was claimed by Chitral DCO Rahmatullah Wazir who presented the returned youths before journalists at a press conference in his office here on Saturday. The youths belonged to the border valleys of Bumburate and Rumbur.

The DCO said that in Afghanistan most of the youths had been employed as daily-wage labourers at construction sites.

He said the district administration had held meetings with elders of the two valleys and persuaded them to call back their youths from Afghanistan.

Mr Wazir said that strict action would be taken against those who failed to return by the deadline of next week. He added that the elders had decided to impose sanctions on the youths in accordance with local custom if they defied their decision.

He said that abject poverty and limited employment opportunities had forced the youths to cross the border into Afghanistan and seek rough jobs there.

Former union nazim Abdul Majid Qureshi, who played a vital role in bringing back the youths, told reporters that they had gone to Afghanistan only for seeking jobs and denied reports that they had joined the Afghan army or had offered services to foreign forces based in the war-torn country.

Ziaur Rahman, Feroz, Mussalman, Ahmed Din, Barat Khan, Qudratullah and Abdur Rashid were among the youths presented before the media.

They said they had been offered more than double the amount they would have earned in big cities of the country like Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi.

Most of them said they earned 14,000 Afghanis a month which was equivalent to about Rs30,000.—Zahiruddin

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