Forced out of their country under precarious political and security circumstances, the Afghans have been in Pakistan for over three decades. Many consider themselves a part of this country, taking responsibility and membership in various areas of work. The delay of their returns with extension upon extension granted is an improper way of managing the issue. It is required that Afghans are treated with dignity and returned to Afghanistan via a meticulous plan to repatriate them to their homeland.
Although Pakistan’s summoning of other countries to facilitate the repatriation of Afghans is reasonable, Pakistan needs to continue taking the primary lead as it is in a position to best determine how the repatriation process can be made as smooth as possible for the Afghans. Pakistan is possibly most privy to the needs of Afghans, even though it took years for effective policies to be outlined and executed when it came to mass exodus from Afghanistan into Pakistan. Building upon the Afghan refugees’ management and repatriation policy 2018, the government of Pakistan needs to develop a long-term phase-out plan. The plan should entail gradual repatriation as well as economic factors in Afghanistan. According to a UNHCR planning summary of the management and repatriation policy 2018, there was a decrease in the number of refugees between 2015 and 2016.
However, considering that Afghanistan is unstable politically and in terms of security, even now as we head further into 2018, the situation back home for many Afghans is not entirely different than the circumstances under which they initially abandoned their country. This calls for a humanistic approach, much to the dismay of significant portion of Pakistanis who lament and blame the current state of the country on one group of people, ignoring the complexities of the situation. Pakistan’s security is another, albeit grave, matter but that is where other departments of state have also faltered.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 22nd, 2018.
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