Repatriating Afghan refugees by the end of 2012 is impossible, Representative of United Nations Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Neill Wright said at a media awareness session on Wednesday.
“Almost 1.65 million registered refugees are living in Pakistan and their repatriation is not possible en masse at the end of 2012, as the Pakistan government has told all Proof of Registration (POR) cardholder Afghanis,” the UN official said.
Wright said he was hopeful of a clear-cut national policy in Pakistan on Afghan refugees. He added that a tripartite meeting in Lahore on December 3 and 4 will be used to hopefully come up with a cordial settlement on the future of Afghan refugees. The meeting will be attended by UNHCR, Pakistan government and Afghan government representatives.
“Afghan refugees will continue living in Pakistan in 2013 with the same status as internationally recognised refugees,” Wright said.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 8th, 2012.
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