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Pakistan extends refugee status for Afghans

Updated Jun 28, 2013 07:36pm


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File photo shows Afghan refugees at a registration center of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) near Peshawar. There are currently 1.6 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan.—File Photo
File photo shows Afghan refugees at a registration center of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) near Peshawar. There are currently 1.6 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The United Nations says Pakistan has extended refugee status for over a million Afghans living in the country. It was set to expire June 30.

The UN’s refugee agency said Friday Pakistan agreed to extend their status while it comes up with a new policy.

Pakistan has been hosting Afghan refugees dating back to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan three decades ago.

There are 1.6 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan. Many Pakistanis have become frustrated with the length of time the Afghans have stayed and want them to leave.

Pakistan has said it will not forcibly evict Afghans. However, revoking their refugee status would encourage people to return to Afghanistan.

Refugee status allows Afghans to get a government ID card that they use for everyday activities like banking or registering for school.


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Comments (12) Closed

HM Jun 28, 2013 07:58pm

Completely flawed policy. They should return back to Afghanistan. If we talk to Afghanis here in Canada they blame every thing on Pakistan and we go on harboring them. In fact many have acquired Id cards and passports in Pakistan , do business and still they are unthankful. We only got gun culture and drugs from Afghanis. Send them back.

Rafiq Jun 28, 2013 08:09pm

Pak Govt. always take bad decisions!! We had enough. For how long Pak will carry their burden.We cannot feed them anymore. Our own people are starving.Children look under nurished. Let them go. Karzai always blame / point finger @ Pakistan .Let him take care his people.

Dr Inayat Jun 28, 2013 08:20pm

Please give them amnesty, so they live with peace and dignity.

kck Jun 28, 2013 08:42pm

It is the time that they should thank Pakistan for hosting them for decades and return to their homeland. Those who were young when their parents brought them here and those who were born know only Pakistan as their place of living. Some of them may have established their homes all across Pakistan. It will be very hard for Pakistan to make them move back to their land. Pakistan need to start the process of peacefully moving the refugees back to their homes.

milli Jun 28, 2013 08:45pm

And yet we remain the hated country. Many of Pakistan's problems could be resolved if the refugees were sent back and housed in camps in Afghanistan, then it would be clear to the Afghan people and government the sacrifices we have made

Khanjee Jun 28, 2013 09:10pm

Why can't we just send them home. They can manage, if not they will..

mj Jun 28, 2013 09:38pm

Why? For how long. More details please. I have a question for my clarification and understanding; how is fostering Afghanis beneficial for Pakistan and most importantly its people?

a Jun 28, 2013 10:04pm

Excellent move.

Isadora Jun 29, 2013 02:08am

It's so hard to just send people home when there would be nothing for them there. 80% of the immigrants in the U.S. are Mexicans. There are families with children who have never been to Mexico.

It's so easy to refer to borders and sovereignty, but those are words. The immigrants are human beings.

Ahmad Wali Stanikzai Jun 29, 2013 11:57am

Glad to here this. Thank you very much. I have been very stressed over the probable repatriation and deportation of afghan refugees since the 31st Dec. 2012. We have always been so grateful to the public people of Pakistan, for the accepting the HUGE number of refugees. They have been loving and kind, have never behaved us as foreigners. But, I hope the Pakistani police had same sympathy and kindness (with the afghan refugees) as the public have always had. It was a VERY bad moment of my life. 3 years ago, whilst I was returning for my semester finals to Afghanistan (I was third year medical student) stopped by some police in Haji camp stand, Pesawar. They had a motor bike with themselves. When they saw that I have the ID card and a student card. They were telling me, I should have had a passport, since I am crossing border. They took all the (6000) money from me. I was a very poor student, after a lot of hard work got selected to a medical school in Afghanistan (by merit), my brother worked as a labour in Mansehra. I had no money left in my pocket, they gave me the some money for fare back to my Mansehra. Returned very frustrated back home, borrowed some money from my relatives and missed the first test.

So, I am requesting u, please reach my words to the authorities and officials, tell the police (the pashtoon police of Peshawar, especially!!! - they are sooo corrupt!!!) stop torturing the refugees who got their ID cards. Hazara police have always been exceptional in this matter. They are peace loving and very responsible ones. Regards, Ahmad

Abdul Samad Achakzai Jul 01, 2013 02:20pm

I do here agree with those people who are in favor to give more time to stay in Pakistan legally as there is still no peace in Afghanistan and their lives will be under danger if they would be sent now. It would be better if they would be given an amnesty to live in Pakistan for life time under different conditions. During my personal discussion with most of Afghan Refugees living in Pakistan who shared that, we came to Pakistan some 33 years ago and we became Refugee. Now we most of the family members have passed away and they were buried in Pakistan and most of our children got birth in Pakistan, spent their childhood in Pakistan, studied in Pakistan, got marriages in Pakistan............. If we will be sent back to Afghanistan, once again we will feel ourselves as Refugee in Afghanistan as most of them don't have any shelter there. Most of the youngsters are not familiar with Afghanistan. They want to stay in Pakistan for life time. Being Pakistan and being Human being, We have to think that, if we were Afghans, what would be our choice...

Abdul Samad Achakzai Jul 01, 2013 02:17pm

Good Decision