Burdened economy: ‘Pakistan has spent $200b on Afghan refugees’

SAFRON minister says international organisations must step up, provide more funds.

Our Correspondent October 25, 2013
The SAFRON minister requested international humanitarian organisations to assist in ensuring timely and safe return of Afghan refugees to their home country. PHOTO: FILE


Pakistan cannot afford to host Afghan refugees any longer and has spent more than $200 billion in the last 30 years on them, said Minister for States and Frontier Regions Abdul Qadir Baloch.

Baloch said international humanitarian organisations should assist in providing protection and ensure the timely and safe return of refugees to their home country.

Addressing a press conference in Peshawar on Friday, he said initially Pakistan was hosting five million refugees and even today there are more than three million registered and unregistered refugees in the country, most of whom are living in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P).

The minister further mentioned the government’s two-year extension to refugees on the request of UNHCR, the United Nation’s Refugee Agency.

Baloch said the government will continue to provide protection to Afghans in Pakistan, but “the government of Afghanistan must improve the conditions of its country so refugees can start repatriating. They can only return if there is durable peace in Afghanistan,” Baloch said.

He also directed law enforcement agencies to not arrest or harass Afghans as long as they possess their old registration cards, since the new cards may take two months to be issued. Baloch said he would order action against any police official found harassing refugees without a reason.

“Refugees often get involved in different types of crime as they are legally not allowed to work in Pakistan. This also worsens law and order problems for the country.” he said.

Baloch said the Refugees Affected and Hosting Areas programme has been initiated by the government. “Donors have pledged $600 million for the project, but so far only $15 million has been given.”

The minister said various development projects, including the supply of clean drinking water, construction of educational institutions, hospitals and parks, would also be initiated in areas where refugees have lived and are still living.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 26th, 2013.


babloo | 10 years ago | Reply

@bakhtiyay ghazi khan: in 1920's before the creation of pakistan, millions of muslims of indo pak started migrating towards afghanistan due to some political reasons but afghans do not accept them and pulled them back, why they have done this. only they are our brothers we are not their brothers. more over pashtuns in pakistan population are nearly 15-17% remaining population {above 80% is non pushtun}. And afghanistan is the country which do not accept pakistan at the time of its creation in 1947 in UN.moreover pakistani pashtun don'taccept afghans refugees on their land anymore as they are the burden on kpk govt. and people. Pakistan pushtoon do not posseses good opinion about afghan pushtun as they have grabed their land,bussiness and sources of income. A large majority of these refugees are involved in criminal activities.Every body knows what philOsophy is involved behind greater pukhtoonistan just to split pakistan they are as against the state of pakistan as india.

Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan | 10 years ago | Reply

@listen here: Yet you support all the foreign forces in Afghanistan, and for 12 years they are butchering, raping, and torturing Afghans throughout Afghanistan. Realize this, Afghanistan is nothing without the support of the Muslims of the world. Every time a foreign nation invaded Afghanistan, whether Sikhs, British, Russians, and now Americans, Pakistani people have been the first and only major support for Afghanistan. There is no inherent strength in any human being, but only in unity of Muslims and the blessing of Allah swt.

Also, 75% of the world's Pukhtoons are in Pakistan. We have every right to protect and care for our brothers in Afghanistan. We don't need US, Indian, Israeli permission for that. You can't separate Pakistan and Afghanistan, that bond is in blood and faith.

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