Afghan refugees reject Jan 31 deadline, demand more time to settle business matters

Published: January 8, 2018
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Afghan elders demand reimbursement for millions of rupees invested in country. PHOTO: INP/FILE

Afghan elders demand reimbursement for millions of rupees invested in country. PHOTO: INP/FILE

PESHAWAR: Afghan refugee elders in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) have rejected the January 31 deadline set by the government for their stay in the country and demanded more time to sort out their business matters with local people.

During a press conference at the Peshawar Club on Monday, they claimed to have pumped millions of rupees into the Pakistani economy and called for the government to create a mechanism to reimburse them.

Malik Abdul Ghafar Shinwari, an Afghan elder, said they are ready for repatriation back to their country but the government must set guidelines for their investments in the country.

Afghan refugees may win extension in stay

Afghans have invested  more than $4 billion in different sectors, he added. “We are ready to return to our homeland but who will guarantee we get back what we invested,” he added.

They also demanded that Islamabad must ensure their safe and respectable repatriation.

Shinwari also said that they have stayed over 40 years in Pakistan with respect and dignity.

However, he further said that forced repatriation would end things on a sour note.

It’s pertinent to mention here that Afghan businessmen invested millions of rupees in buying properties as well as giving loans to locals.

While criticising the authorities in Kabul, Shinwari said that the Afghan government failed to accommodate the  refugees who had already repatriated back home.

The elders also condemned the policies of Donald Trump against Pakistan and stated that the US president’s statement may create hurdles for them.

Habit Pashton, another refugee elder, said they planned a meeting with local officials to discuss these issues being faced by them.

He also complained against the police who harass refuges in different part of the country.

On January 3, the government granted a 30-day extension in the legal stay of refugees with the next expiry date set for January 31.

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Reader Comments (3)

  • Acorn Guts
    Jan 8, 2018 - 9:50PM

    Valid argument indeed. Their investment should be safeguarded to the same standard as any other Pakistani.

    It’d however make sense that only that investment to be protected on which due tax has been paid and where income sources can be clearly established. Any ill gotten funds must not allowed to be laundered under this garb.Recommend

  • Sabir Khan
    Jan 9, 2018 - 12:17AM

    They should leave as soon is possible. After 31 January they will become illegal emigrant. They had enough time to close their business and go back.As far the their business concern its all unauthorised should be dismantle. Which doctor give them authority? No more extension please. They are becoming national security issue. Recommend

  • Khan
    Jan 9, 2018 - 4:39PM

    @Acorn Guts:
    How on earth is that argument valid? They’re refugees not native people hence they cannot buy properties let alone owning anything nearly worth so called $4 billions that figures came directly from Mr Shinwari’s head without any backing. FBR should investigate and take proper income tax .. Any properties bought with illegally obtained documents should be ceased.
    Afghan refugees must be repatriated to release burden from local economy as we are overpopulated society.Recommend

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