HARIPUR: Struggle for Change (SACH) put together a seminar on Monday to commemorate World Refugee Day in Khalabat Township, Haripur. Afghan children and elders from different refugee camps of the district, social activists and National Database and Registration Authority officials attended the event.
Speaking on the occasion, SACH office-bearer Hasan Iqbal underscored the various problems Afghan refugees faced adjusting in Pakistan ever since 1979. He said despite administrative hurdles, locals welcomed their neighbours with open arms and treated them like guests.
“We have provided legal aid and counselling to over 70 Afghan nationals during the last three months,” he said, adding SACH facilitated them through various procedures such as detention under Section 14 and 15 of the Foreigners Act. “We commemorated the international day a little earlier keeping the arrival of Ramazan in mind,” he said. World Refugee Day is globally commemorated on June 20 every year.
Students of Abu Ayub Ansari Higher Secondary School and Rehman Public School put up plays to highlight the plight of those who have had to flee their homes and escape persecution or natural calamities. Refugee camp administrator Ahmed Nawaz Khan was the chief guest on the occasion. He distributed prizes amongst the performers.
During his address, Afghan elder Abdul Malik paid tribute to the Pakistani government for facilitating his fellow countrymen in the hour of need. “Our children study in Pakistani institutes of higher learning. Iran did not accommodate us the way Pakistan did.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 17th, 2015.