After a month’s deadline was given to illegal Afghan refugees residing in Peshawar, over 100 families have retreated to Afghanistan, District Coordinating Officer (DCO) Siraj Ahmed Khan said on Thursday.
In order to improve the law and order situation, he added, the district administration has asked the refugees to leave the city and return to their own country within one month, ending on May 24.
Though the deadline has ended, however, the Afghan government has sought an extension maintaining that there are many areas in Afghanistan where the situation is critical and it is hard for Afghans to settle down. He said the Afghan government has also requested the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government to relax their policy for Afghan refugees and grant another extension.
The official said that respecting the request of the neighbouring country, a high-level meeting has been summoned at the DCO office on May 25 to consider whether giving a deadline extension is viable. Presently, he stated, 0.4 million Afghans refugees are illegally residing in Peshawar and a decision about their stay would be taken during the upcoming meeting.
To a question, he said if the meeting does not allow the extension then the already constituted police, towns and revenue staff committees would take action against the refugees under the foreign act.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 25th, 2012.
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