ISLAMABAD: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi on Wednesday announced to double the individual assistance package for Afghan refugees returning to Afghanistan.

Grandi announced an increase in the existing package, raising it from an average of $200 to $400 per person.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees also introduced an increase in assistance package for the Afghan refugee families returning to Afghanistan under the organisation's voluntary return programme.

During his three day stay in Pakistan, Grandi met with President Mamnoon Hussain and senior ministers. He commended Pakistan's generosity for hosting one of the world’s largest protracted refugee populations.

He noted that the international community needs to support solutions in Afghanistan through robust development investments.

"Traditional approaches to solving protracted refugee situations were not enough and therefore there is a need for innovative solutions."

Grandi reassured the Pakistani leadership of UNHCR’s continued support to repatriate the 1.5 million Afghan refugees residing in the country.

He promised to upscale programmes for refugee hosting communities through the Refugee Affected and Hosting Areas (RAHA) initiative in Pakistan and to support Afghanistan in implementing its plans to create conditions conducive for sustainable return and reintegration in high return areas.

'Its time for Afghans to go back to their country'

The government has not yet announced a decision to renew the refugees' legal status beyond June 30, although, in the past, it has extended deadlines at the last minute.

There are only 100,000 registered refugees in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province said provincial information minister Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani.

“We don't suggest any aggressive campaign against Afghan refugees, but we have been hosting them for the past 35 years and it is time they should go back to their country,” Ghani said.

Unregistered Afghans had become a major security issue for the government, he said, urging the federal government to revisit its policy on the refugees.

“If Pakistan wants to host them, then it needs to register them and bring them under a proper network,” he added.

More than 2,000 refugees have been arrested in the last month, and 400 were deported to Afghanistan, Dawn newspaper reported.

The number of Afghans voluntarily returning home has plunged this year as violence worsens in Afghanistan, where the government and its US allies are fighting a stubborn Taliban insurgency.

Opinion

Editorial

Tough talks
Updated 16 Apr, 2024

Tough talks

The key to unlocking fresh IMF funds lies in convincing the lender that Pakistan is now ready to undertake real reforms.
Caught unawares
Updated 16 Apr, 2024

Caught unawares

The government must prioritise the upgrading of infrastructure to withstand extreme weather.
Going off track
16 Apr, 2024

Going off track

LIKE many other state-owned enterprises in the country, Pakistan Railways is unable to deliver, while haemorrhaging...
Iran’s counterstrike
Updated 15 Apr, 2024

Iran’s counterstrike

Israel, by attacking Iran’s diplomatic facilities and violating Syrian airspace, is largely responsible for this dangerous situation.
Opposition alliance
15 Apr, 2024

Opposition alliance

AFTER the customary Ramazan interlude, political activity has resumed as usual. A ‘grand’ opposition alliance ...
On the margins
15 Apr, 2024

On the margins

IT appears that we are bent upon taking the majoritarian path. Thus, the promise of respect and equality for the...