- Refugees in urban areas to be shifted to camps, illegal Afghanis to be sent back
A high-level meeting on policy recommendations for repatriation and registration of Afghan refugees residing in Pakistan took place here on Wednesday. It was decided that there would be no extension in the deadline given to Afghan refugees to return to their country beyond December 31, 2015.
The deadline was extended by the government of Pakistani after a tripartite agreement between Pakistan, Afghanistan, and UNHCR. The proof of registration (PoR) cards of Afghan refugees will no longer be valid after December 31, 2015.
The meeting also decided that refugees living in urban areas would be sent back to refugee camps. For this purpose, new sites for refugee camps will also be established. The KP government also suggested that the burden of refugees should be shared equally by all provinces. The government also decided to take the matter up to UNHCR to not to extend the deadline.
It was also decided that the productive and skilful Afghan refugees could be offered an incentive to live in urban areas if they could be helpful in national economy. Chief commissioner for Afghan refugees briefed the participants about their current status. The meeting also decided that Afghan refugees with illegal status would be sent back.
The Afghans living in Pakistan fall under three categories: those living in Pakistan without any visa and registration card; registered Afghan refugees; and Afghans visiting Pakistan on medical and educational grounds.
It was also decided that NADRA would be given extra funds to help create a database of all the refugees in the country. The process is expected to start this month. This will protect registered Afghan refugees from any harassment by law enforcing agencies. The secretary SAFRON is expected to visit Afghanistan and Geneva to raise the issue of Afghan refugees in the light of recent developments.
The meeting was attended by secretary SAFRON and defence secretary, along with KP home secretary, additional home secretaries of Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan, senior joint secretaries of SAFRON, interior and ministry of foreign affairs and DG interior and DG foreign office, with officials from intelligence agencies.