Afghan refugee Nazo Khyber, 8, holds her brother Bilal, 1, while walking back to her home in a slum area on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Friday, July 20, 2012. -AP Photo
Afghan refugee Nazo Khyber, 8, holds her brother Bilal, 1, while walking back to her home in a slum area on the outskirts of Islamabad, July 20, 2012. — Photo by AP/File

PESHAWAR, Nov 29: Pakhtuns make the most of 1.6 million Afghan refugees registered in Pakistan, while around 70 per cent of them were born and bred as refugees in the country, according to a nationwide survey.

“Pakhtuns constitute 82 per cent of the total Afghan refugee population in Pakistan and they are followed by five per cent Tajiks and four per cent Uzbeks and other ethnic groups,” said the findings of the Population Profiling, Verification and Response Survey of Afghan Refugees done by States and Frontier Regions ministry and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 2011.

According to a news release issued here Thursday, around one million Afghan refugees in Pakistan were interviewed for the survey, which examined the specific needs of Afghan refugees and generated accurate and detailed description of registered Afghan population, including information about intention to return to their country, livelihoods, socio-economic and legal conditions.

The survey revealed that around 20 per cent of working Afghans had collectively invested over Rs18 billion in business in the country.

It said the government had issued Proof of Registration Cards to refugees and they would expire by the end of December.

According to the survey, around 70 per cent of Afghan population was under the age of 18 and that most were born and raised in Pakistan.

Around 360,000 of the total of 1.6 million registered Afghan refugees have already planned to return to Afghanistan in the coming years.

The voluntary repatriation, which has seen more than 3.8 million Afghans return home over the last 10 years, remained at the centre of the ‘Solution Strategy for Afghan Refugees’, which was endorsed at an international conference in May this year in Geneva.

The refugees, who didn’t want to return to their country, cited insecurity, unemployment and lack of shelter major reasons for it.

The survey revealed that 22.53 per cent of the refugees were economically active and of them, men accounted for 85.59 per cent of the total workforce.

According to it, the Afghan workforce comprises mostly adults aged between 25 and 59, while 31.3 per cent is made up of youths aged from 15 to 24.

Members of the two groups make 90 per cent of the total refugee population.

The survey said many refugees were currently working as unskilled labourers — mostly as sales workers, or in the construction, handicraft and transportation sectors.

According to it, 70 per cent of the refugees have one earning family member, while six per cent of the households have no breadwinner.

The survey said in education sector, 43 per cent of boys and 67 per cent of school-age girls were never enrolled in schools.

It added that a high dropout rate prevented most Afghan children from completing primary education.

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Comments (6)

November 30, 2012 9:24 am
US and her allies should be proud of liberating Afghanistan from tyranny. No doubt Afghan peace and harmony is restored. Kudos to the great people of West
November 30, 2012 4:29 pm
I think they should be allowed to have dual citizenship and allowed to live whereever they want.
November 30, 2012 5:18 pm
"and are doing jobs which no one likes to do in Karachi " co'mon, it's not that rest of populace live in a developed country .. You're mistaking Pakistan for UK I believe .. here thousands of people sleep on road sides as they have no access to shelters let alone choosing what type of work they should do. These 1.6 Million are only registered refugees .. Visit Peshawar you'll see majority of refugees are living as unregistered refugees in posh areas .. 40% of homes are owned by them in areas like Hayatabad town where a 5 marla house costs around 6.5 million Rupees, almost 90% of Khakhano Markets are owned by them along with businesses in all major expensive areas. Most of them are living in supposedly small cities like Peshawar etc since almost all of them have had family members in western countries as refugees thus were able to buy these places easily against local populace who would earn little in local currencies. 'The survey revealed that around 20 per cent of working Afghans had collectively invested over Rs18 billion in business in the country' Can we have a survey as to how much tax they pay? Without any tax contribution they're able to run huge businesses get free education, healthcare and adds to the imbalance of supply & demand chain thus a further trend of higher prices of commodities.
zeeshan kazmi
November 30, 2012 10:15 am
afghans have become a part of our society and are doing jobs which no one likes to do in Karachi (ironically its mainly because they are not allowed to do any other work), i think govt should allow afghans to continue living in Pak if they want and provide them with equal opportunity like everyone else in every field of life.
Mohan Kochicheril
November 30, 2012 8:16 pm
If anyone born in Pakistan entitles to automatic citizenship even if the parents are aliens, why are treated as refugees and not given the rights and privilege guaranteed in the constitution?
December 1, 2012 8:54 am
Pakistan has been a very good host for them. It’s time for them to return to their homes. The UN should make arrangements for their return to their homeland.
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