Afghan refugees

Editorial July 10, 2024


Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s recent appeal to the international community regarding Afghan refugees underscores a critical issue that demands global attention and collective action. He has rightly emphasised that Pakistan can no longer bear the burden of hosting millions of Afghan refugees alone, especially given the strain on our economy and national security.

The call for collective responsibility resonates deeply in a world where geopolitical decisions have far-reaching consequences for neighbouring nations. The presence of Afghan refugees in Pakistan is not solely a consequence of regional instability but also reflects the aftermath of policies pursued by global powers in Afghanistan. The imperialist interventions and subsequent instability have compelled millions of Afghans to seek refuge across borders, including in Pakistan. It is imperative for the international community, particularly Western countries, to acknowledge their role in shaping these circumstances and to share the responsibility for addressing the humanitarian crisis that has ensued.

While Pakistan has taken steps to manage the influx of refugees, including initiatives to streamline the process of repatriation for undocumented individuals, challenges remain. The sheer numbers and the prolonged nature of displacement necessitate a coordinated international effort to provide sustainable solutions. This includes not only humanitarian aid but also support for comprehensive refugee management strategies that ensure the dignity and rights of all displaced persons.

Moreover, there is a pressing need for transparency and accountability in how refugee policies are formulated and implemented. Interestingly, the countries advising Pakistan today on managing its refugees have some of the most stringent policies for refugees and migrants. Pakistan’s efforts to repatriate Afghan refugees should be supported and strengthened by international partnerships that prioritise the wellbeing of refugees while respecting host country sovereignty. It is crucial for the global community to step up its commitments.


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