Fate of Afghan refugees discussed: Tripartite Commission

Published: September 15, 2012

The meeting between the three parties came just before the first Quadripartite Steering Committee meeting to be held in Geneva on 3rd October 2012. PHOTO: IRIN

PEHSAWAR: Delegations from Afghanistan and Pakistan along with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) continued their discussions in Istanbul at the 21st Tripartite Commission on the future of around 1.66 million Afghan refugees presently living in Pakistan.

According to a press release, The Tripartite Agreement is due to expire at the end of this year, and all parties feel that a voluntary repatriation process with an agreed mechanism is vital for these vulnerable people.

Afghan Minister for Refugees and Repatriation Jamahir Anwary briefed the delegations on the progress already made in the four months since the endorsement of the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees in Geneva in May 2012.

Pakistan Minister for States and Frontier Regions Shaukat Ullah informed that his ministry was presently holding inter-ministerial deliberations. He added that they were reviewing options for the future national policy for Afghan refugees, which will be considered shortly by his government.

The delegations expressed optimism that their respective governments would favorably review the recommendations drawn up by this meeting.

UNHCR representative in Islamabad, Neil Wright who also chaired the Tripartite Commission meeting said that UNHCR supported an extension of the Tripartite agreement which would expire on 31 December 2012 along with the validity of the Proof of Registration (PoR) cards held by Afghan refugees in Pakistan. He added that UNHCR wanted to ensure the ongoing protection for Afghan refugees.

Referring to the well-being of Afghan refugees, he added that UNHCR and the international community had not faced such a serious challenge in the past 30 years.

The meeting between the three parties came just before the first Quadripartite Steering Committee meeting to be held in Geneva on October 3, 2012, at which progress on the implementation of the Solutions Strategy for Afghan refugees will be reviewed.

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Reader Comments (4)

  • Sayed Karim
    Sep 15, 2012 - 4:47AM

    All parties must review the agreement and extend the validity of POR Cards and also restore the ban on Visa extensions for Afghan refugees from Islamabad.

    Pakistan and Afghanistan both must make their visa polices soft on bilateral basis and Pakistan must accept those Afghans as citizens of Pakistan who is ready to avoid his Afghan Citizenship and this opportunity must be given only to those people who will considered as a refugee after completion of UNHCR Interview for grant of Refugee Status.

    I am an Afghan and I am currently 30 years old and spent 26 years of my age here in Pakistan now I do not want to go back at any condition because our all assets and property has been occupied there and I and my other family members will lose their lives if we go back.

    And I knew a lot of Refugees who are unable to go back at all so Pakistan must give us citizenships on Humanitarian on a condition of avoiding Afghanistan Citizenship in this case all those people who has properties there will go back instantly and who can’t go back they will accept this condition.

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  • John B
    Sep 15, 2012 - 6:16AM

    @Sayed Karim:
    Sympathize with you. The issues are complex and the refugees should come up with their own solution to the problem and present it to PAK and UN commission in a workable manner. The concerns of the refugees living in refugee camps are more important than those who are living in urban area. The families and relatives will be separated across the border and should be addressed. Repatriation monetary help and land allotment should be meaningful.

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  • usman786
    Sep 15, 2012 - 7:33AM

    Generally the Afghans have not integrated into Pakistani culture as west also says about muslims. So they remain in another world and despite Pak hosting them for 3 decades, Afghans and govt talk bad about Pakistan. When Afghans are not allowed to owe property and bank account, they may be allowed to go back after buildinng roads and swm collection

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  • lovePak
    Sep 15, 2012 - 1:19PM

    @Syed Karim:
    I totally know where you’re coming from and I sympathize you. But bro, it’s a fact that Afghans in Pakistan are causing problems, not all Afghans but quite a few. The main thing is that wherever I see Afghans in Pakistan, they’re always disrespecting Pakistan regardless of the fact that we sacrificed a lot to allow 2 million of you in our country. And we did it on the good intention that you were our Muslim brothers. The least we deserve is a little respect. I’m not saying all Afghans are bad, most are good and I sympathize with you. But many Afghans did not deserve the treatment we gave you. Look at Turkey, they’re not allowing more than 100,000 Syrians in their refugee camps. Yet we allowed 2 million of you despite having much more problems than Turkey. We have no problem with them as long as you’re good citizens who respect this country. You don’t have to be a patriot either.

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