Afghan refugees’ registration in Pakistan essential: Khattak

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Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak has termed the registration of Afghan refugees in Pakistan as essential, clarifying that refugees are not an issue, but the basic problem is the stay of non-registered foreigners for which serious steps are required.

He said this while talking to Afghan Ambassador-designate in Pakistan Dr Omar Zakhilwal at the CM’s Secretariat on Thursday. Chief Secretary Amjad Ali, the secretary home, IGP, commissioner Peshawar and other officials were also present.

The overall law and order situation in the region, repatriation of Afghan refugees and other matters of mutual interest were discussed threadbare during the meeting.

The Afghan envoy, on the occasion, apprised the chief minister of the problems being faced by Afghan refugees in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He, however, appreciated the cooperation of the provincial government, and said he himself wanted that all Afghan refugees went back to their homeland with honour soon. He also observed that the unpleasant situation of law and order in Afghanistan forced Afghans to come back to Pakistan, but assured that all hurdles in this respect would be removed.

Addressing the foreign dignitary, Khattak said that combating the challenges jointly by foreseeing the sensitivity of the circumstances was the prime obligation of both the neighbouring countries. He said that the basic issue was not of refugees but that of non-registered foreign nationals. “We are facing enormous threats at the moment and registration of all foreigners, including Afghan refugees, is a must in this regard,” he added.

Highlighting law and order situation, threats and security obligations, IGP Nasir Khan Durrani said that there was no discrimination with Afghan refugees in respect of identification, but across the board checking was being undertaken and even a Pakistani faced legal proceedings for not having an identity card.

The Afghan ambassador assured of all-out cooperation for peace in the region and improvement in fraternal relations between the two brotherly countries.