PESHAWAR: A meeting was held between Afghan and Pakistani government officials to resolve problems faced by Afghan refugees in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P).
The meeting was held on the directions of K-P Chief Minister Amir Haider Hoti. Chaired by provincial Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the session was also attended by Afghan Consul General in Peshawar, Muhammad Ibrahimkhel.
The consul general was told that the provincial government will make all efforts to redress grievances of Afghan nationals visiting the province as well as refugees holding proof of registration (PoR) cards.
After detailed discussions, it was decided that Afghan nationals visiting Pakistan must register themselves with the special branch police office in Peshawar. But since law enforcement agencies do not allow Afghan nationals in sensitive areas such as Cantonment, Afghans seeking registration in those areas face problems in accessing the special branch office. To redress this problem, a special branch will be established at camp office near Secondary Board, Peshawar.
All steps will be taken to avoid harassment of Afghan refugees holding legal documents and directives have been issued to all DPOs and SHOs. It was further decided that two police personnel would be suspended from duty because of their alleged involvement in extorting and bribing Afghan refugees.
Afghan nationals visiting hospitals in Peshawar for medical treatment, particularly Rehman Medical Institute and North West Hospital Hayatabad, also allegedly faced harassment and extortion by local police.
To redress the grievances, director general for the Peshawar Development Authority and commissioner for Afghan refugees jointly agreed to place a sign board in front of each hospital, with information on who to contact in cases of harassment. The Provincial Crisis Management Cell of the home department provided three numbers to contact if Afghan nationals face discrimination.
A list of all Afghan prisoners in jails in Peshawar and Charsadda along with complete details about their cases and their current status is also to be sent by the inspector generals of the prisons to the home department within three days.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 18th, 2012.