Following approval of the federal cabinet, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government on Tuesday extended the deadline for repatriation of Afghan refugees till December 31, 2015.
The earlier deadline was June 30, 2013. Registration cards to afghan refugees will now be issued by the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) up till December 2015. Police officials, seven divisional commissioners across K-P, UNHCR officials, K-P commissioner of Afghan refugees and CCPO Peshawar have been informed to ensure no harassment of Afghans holding registration cards.
Last week, Chief Minister (CM) Pervez Khattak said the Pak-Afghan border should be regulated for the peaceful repatriation of Afghan refugees. “It is the federal government’s responsibility to control the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The government needs to prevent the re-entry of refugees once they have crossed the border,” he had said.
Pakistan has been hosting Afghan refugees dating back to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan three decades ago. There are more than 1.6 million Afghans in Pakistan registered as refugees, and an additional 1 million undocumented refugees in the country. The extension does not apply to unregistered refugees.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2013.