PESHAWAR: The Pakistani women, married to Afghan men, protested outside Peshawar Press Club on Monday, asking the government to stop forcefully repatriating the Afghan refugees.
“Our families have divided now,” cried Shamim Bibi, who was married to an Afghan refugee. “They have sent my husband to Afghanistan, who has also taken my sons along with him.”
She added her husband’s family had been living in Peshawar for the last several decades. Their families were related to each other, she said, so they got married.
During the protest, dozens of women along with their children were holding placards inscribed with slogans demanding justice and requesting the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan to find a solution to their issues and stop destroying their homes and future of their children.
Similar was the case with Afghan women. The future of those of them who have married Pakistani men was also at stake as the government is forcing all the Afghans out of the country.
“They [Afghan men] have taken our children with them,” Shamim Bibi said. “Afghan husbands of some of the women are behind bars and so far no one has come for their defence, even the Afghanistan government is not listening to their problem.”
Currently, she said, they have no sources of income. Some of their sons were kept in prison for some time, then forced to leave.
“There is nothing left in Afghanistan as it has been completely destroyed due to years of wars,” said Shazia, another protester. She added their children were born in Peshawar and have not even seen their country.
Her children were studying in schools, she said. “Their education will be left incomplete, because in Afghanistan there is neither a school nor do they have resources to study,” Shazia added. “Afghanistan is an unfamiliar land for our children, they were born and bred here, and even have homes and businesses.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2016.