Refugee repatriation begins today

Published March 15, 2004

QUETTA, March 14: United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will resume voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees on Monday in Balochistan. UNHCR Country Representative Guenet Gebre-Christos said this while speaking at a press conference here on Friday. Kwame Boafo, provincial chief of UNHCR, was also present on the occasion.

"We wanted to resume this programme on March 2, but owing to Quetta carnage we had to postpone it," she said, adding that around 400,000 Afghan refugees would be repatriated from Pakistan during the year 2004 and around 500,000 refugees would also be repatriated from Iran during the current year.

About the extension of the deadline for refugee repatriation, she said: "Extension in the time is possible." However, she said that after March 2006, the UNHCR and Pakistan government would take decision about the status of remaining refugees according to the immigration rules of the country.

Replying to a question, she said that in Balochistan around 300,000 Afghan refugees were living in camps. However, the government has given the figure of 700,000 Afghan refugees in the province. Replying to a question about security concerns, she said: "Security was improving in Afghanistan and will improve further in the coming days," she said.

RECOVERED: The crime branch police have recovered one Abdul Qayyum Abro, on Friday, after 67 days of his kidnapping from Sunny Shoran area of Bolan district.

The DIG Crime Rafi Pervaz Bhatti told newsmen while addressing a news conference on Friday night. He said that the kidnapper Dadan Khan was also arrested. He said that the son of a prominent doctor of Bolan district, Abdul Qayyum Abro, was kidnapped on gunpoint two months back when he was on his way to his home in a pick-up.

The accused after kidnapping kept Abdul Qayyum at different places and demanded ransom for his release. However, the DSP crime branch, Babar Gul on Friday raided the hide out of the kidnapper in hilly area of Sunny Shoran in Bolan district along with heavy contingent of police and recovered Abdul Qayyum. The police also recovered his pick-up.

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