For Afghan refugees, repatriation is chance to start anew

UNHCR has facilitated return of 3.7 million refugees from Pakistan since 2002.

Our Correspondent October 03, 2012


Around 235 Afghan refugee families have returned to their native towns in Afghanistan during the current week, senior protection officer of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) Balochistan chapter, Tayba Sharif said on Tuesday.

The trend of voluntary repatriation had increased to 36%, as under the process, the UNHCR had repatriated over 50,000 Afghan refugees during 2012, while the number of repatriated refugees in 2011 was 32,000, the UNHCR official said.

Providing collective data on the repatriation process, she stated that the UNHCR has facilitated the voluntary return of more than 3.7 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan since 2002, adding the process was based purely on a voluntary basis and every person opting to return is advised to make a wise decision. “The UNHCR has set up four Voluntary Return Centres (VRCs) in Balochistan to help as many Afghans return home as possible,” Sharif said.

She noted that the UNHCR was striving hard to ease the burden of refugees on Pakistan and supported the country’s endeavours to ensure the provision of health, education, and other basic facilities to the refugees.

Murtaza Khazmi, an Afghan representative for the refugees said tangible improvement was being made in the law and order and security situation of Afghanistan, paving the way for a safe return of a large number of Afghans back home.

“The Afghan government has established 63 towns to accommodate refugees living in Pakistan and Iran,” Khazmi said, adding that further steps taken by government in the war-torn country would help the repatriation of refugees living in refugee camps in Pakistan.

Expressing his joy on returning to his homeland, one refugee said he was looking forward to being reunited with his family. “We are returning back to our land of birth,” Khan Mohammad said. He claimed that being the head of his family, he decided to return home and be reunited with the rest of his family. “I have been living along with eight family members in Pakistan for the last 30 years, but now, along with 40 other people, we are leaving for Afghanistan.”

Published in The Express Tribune, October 3rd, 2012.


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Taliban Supported by Afghanis | 8 years ago | Reply

Please dont come back, have a safe trip.....someone lock the border behind these people. After 30 years of helping Afghans, Pakistan got nothing but hate and scorn from these thankless people. We should never have got involved in Afghanistan, but Zia was a evil man who saw a chance to rule forever using Afghan war as an excuse.

usman786 | 8 years ago | Reply

UN agencies spent billions of Rs in Pak each year on various aspects though sometime they get involved in activities not liked by govt and are described as dual standards. Many govt depts create hurdle on move, import of tax free vehicles/ medicines from india , no of employees etc. See their annual report. Donor like them due to no corruption culture than GoP and they know what to do in emergency

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