Afghan Refugees Stay Will Not Be Extended: Pakistan
AVA-Pakistani officials said that Islamabad would not give another extension to the registered Afghan refugees for their stay in Pakistan, Dawn News reported on Wednesday.
“There will be no extension after January 31 and they (refugees) will have to go to their country,” said a senior official from the State and Frontier Region ministry.
This comes after the legal stay of Afghan refugees expired on December 31 last year but was extended by one month by the Pakistani cabinet.
According to the initial plan, the ministry had suggested to grant a one-year stay to registered refugees, Dawn News reported, but sources said that the National Security Committee had made the decision about not giving a one-year extension to Afghans.
Meanwhile, Chief Commissioner of Refugees Saleem Khan said the related authorities would prepare a return plan before putting it to the federal cabinet for approval.
Based on the official estimates at the moment, over 2.5 million Afghans including, 1.4 million registered refugees, are living in Pakistan.
Pakistani officials said that the return of millions of Afghans required at least one year to complete.
Afghan elders in Pakistan said that last year 400,0000 Afghans voluntarily returned to Afghanistan, among them 100,000 have returned to Pakistan because the Afghan government did not provide them with shelter or facilities.
The UNHCR last year paid $400 USD to every refugee who wanted to return home voluntarily. The process encouraged hundreds of thousands of refugees to return to Afghanistan. However, the amount has decreased to $200 USD in 2017, officials said.