PESHAWAR: Afghan refugees, residing in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for decades, have appealed to the government for an extension in their stay in Pakistan.

The refugees, citing difficulty in wrapping up their businesses, have stated that six months given earlier is not sufficient.

A refugee jirga, addressing a press conference, stated that they were thankful to Pakistan for its hospitality and hosting the refugees for 35 years.

“What we want is extension our stay in Pakistan,” Habibullah Gulbuddin, son of Hikmatyar Gulbuddin told the reporters, adding the situation in Afghanistan was not suitable for their return.

Gulbuddin added they were facing difficulties and can not move freely due to police harassment.

“Afghan refugees are heavily invested in their business and thousands of Afghans are studying in Pakistan,” elaborated Gulbuddin.

He said it is impossible for them to wrap up their businesses over night, which have been established after years of struggle.

The jirga also complained about lack of facilities for returning refugees at the UNHCR repatriation centres.

Earlier, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif granted an extension in the stay of registered Afghan refugees residing in Pakistan for a further period of six months — till December 31, 2016.

The government had adopted tough policy regarding Afghan refugees after terrorists attack on Army Public School and College Peshawar on December 16, 2014. Under the 20-point National Action Plan, the government had decided to formulate a comprehensive policy to deal with the issue of Afghan refugees.

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