Wed, Oct

Afghan refugees in Pakistan to be legalised



Afghanistan and Pakistan on Monday agreed to form a joint committee to work on legalising the stay of Afghan refugees and resolving their problems in the neighbouring country.

The agreement came at a meeting between an Afghan delegation, led by refugee and repatriation minister Alami Balkhi, and Pakistani officials including federal refugee and borders minister Abdul Qadir Baloch, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan Abbasi, chief minister Parvaiz Khattak and other KP officials in Peshawar.The Afghan delegation a day earlier arrived in Islamabad and travelled to Peshawar on Monday. The delegation was accompanied by the Afghan ambassador in Islamabad, Janan Musazai, and other diplomats to Peshawar.The Afghan Embassy in Islamabad in a statement said problems facing Afghan refugees were discussed in detail at the meeting with Pakistani officials and some decisions were made.The two sides agreed on chalking out a comprehensive plan on legal stay of registered and unregistered Afghan refugees, it said.They also agreed to form a joint committee comprising of Afghan embassy and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government officials to work for resolving problems of Afghan refugees.After the meeting, the Afghan delegation visited the Afghan Consulate in Peshawar.Pakistani security forces have started detaining and harassing Afghan refugees after a deadly attack on a school in Peshawar, in which 150 children were killed.So far more than 5000 Afghans have been detained and hundreds others forcibly expelled. Authorities in Pakistan say the raids targeted Afghans living illegally in the country.The Pakistani media said Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani had chalked out a comprehensive plan for the repatriation of Afghan refugees from Pakistan.At the high-level meeting, Balkhi informed the Pakistani officials of president Ghani’s decision for the repatriation of refugees.The minister said his country had pointed out centres where refugees from Pakistan would be camped. The Afghan government has decided to increase the amount of travel expenses for the refugees.In response to Ashraf Ghani’s decision, the Pakistani officials indicated that instead of deporting the unregistered refugees, they should be documented.Governor Abbasi said NADRA, Afghan Commission and Afghan ministry for refugees will together make efforts to meet this challenge.