Afghan refugees urged to abstain from political activities in Pakistan

Afghan consul general says they will not be able to defend any refugee who comes under criticism by Pakistani govt

News Desk September 22, 2023
Afghan refugees gather for renewal of their family cards at the Chamkany registration center on the outskirts of Peshawar. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Abdul Jabbar Takhari, the Acting Consul General of Afghanistan in Karachi, has urged Afghan refugees residing in Pakistan to abstain from participating in public gatherings hosted by Pakistani political parties, Tolo News reported

Takhari said that they will not be able to defend any Afghan refugee who comes under criticism by the Pakistani government amid ongoing disputes among the political parties in the country.

"They [Afghan refugees] should not interfere in political affairs of parties here because they have differences among themselves,” the report quoted him saying.

He warned that interfering with any party, collaborating with them, or attending their meetings could leave Afghan refugees vulnerable if they encounter government-related issues, saying that the Afghan government will not be able to provide support to them.

Read more: Afghan refugee influx

Over 600,000 Afghans have arrived in Pakistan in the two years since the Taliban retook control of Afghanistan in 2021.

In addition to the new arrival, Pakistan hosts 1.3 million Afghan refugees who are holding the Proof of Registration Cards issued by the government, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesman Qaiser Khan Afridi had recently said.

Over the last two years, over 16,000 Afghans have returned to Afghanistan through the UNHCR-facilitated voluntary repatriation programme, he added.

In 2017, the government issued a one-time Afghanistan Citizen Card (ACC) to approximately 880,000 refugees which expired this year.

"UNHCR is in talks with Pakistani authorities about extending the registration cards of Afghan refugees," Afridi said, adding that they are hopeful for a positive outcome on this issue.

According to Afridi, a positive decision from the authorities will provide relief to Afghan refugees, who are experiencing uncertainty and anxiety due to the expiration of their cards.

Prior to August 20, 2021, Pakistani authorities estimated that 500,000 to 600,000 Afghans lived in the country.


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