HARIPUR: Haripur police has asked Afghan businessmen and shopkeepers working outside refugee camps to wind up their businesses within five days or face legal action, shared official sources here on Friday.
The decision is being implemented in Khalabat Township, an area that houses a good majority of Afghans running shops. According to the local SHO, Raja Mehboob, the decision was taken in line with directives from higher authorities under which the settlers were asked to relocate to their camps within the next five months. Mehboob said all building owners who have rented their shops out have been asked to get them vacated.
Afghans involved in running mobile businesses such as pushcarts and working as hawkers selling food items have been told to desist from coming to the city. Mehboob said if they did not comply within the given time, the police would begin action against them.
When approached for comments, Assistant Superintendent Headquarter, Wahid Mehmood confirmed the report, adding registered Afghan nationals were also being asked to relocate their business to their camps, outside of which they are not allowed to operate by law. Mehmood added that they have taken over all the businesses and become a threat to security.
Under a tripartite agreement earlier this year, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan have extended the voluntary repatriation of registered Afghan refugees in Pakistan until 2015. According to data gathered from the office of the District Administrator Afghan refugees Hazara, there are 22,012 registered families with 126,336 individuals in Haripur alone; while over 2,600 unregistered families and 15,000 individuals are using the resources of the district.