Tripartite meet in Kabul: Pakistan to present strategy to repatriate Afghan refugees

Published: August 22, 2015
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PHOTO: EXPRESS

PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will present its strategy to deal with the nearly three million Afghan refugees still living in the country in a tripartite meeting in Kabul, officials said on Friday.

Minister for States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) Lt- Gen (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch has arrived in Kabul to represent Pakistan in the meeting with the Afghan government and the UN refugee agency, officials of Pakistan’s embassy in the Afghan capital told The Express Tribune.

Pakistan is hosting almost 1.5 million registered Afghan refugees according to the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), making it the largest protracted refugee situation in the world.

The ‘proof of registration’ (PoR) cards issued to the refugees are set to expire by the end of this year. Kabul has requested Islamabad to extend the refugees’ stay until it develops the capacity to accommodate them in Afghanistan. Whether Pakistan should extend their stay beyond 2015 will be the most important item on the meeting’s agenda.

Pakistan also hosts around one million un-registered Afghans, the documentation process for whom was scheduled to begin last month. It was postponed for a month on the Afghan government’s request, an Afghan diplomat said, and will likely begin next week.

The SAFRON ministry has been devising what officials say is a comprehensive policy for Afghan refugees in coordination with the government of Pakistan and UNHCR.  During the last tripartite meeting in Islamabad in March, the SAFRON minister had said that Pakistan’s new policy “will be humane, based on the ground realities, for achieving solutions which are sustainable through voluntary repatriation and leads to empowerment rather than exploitation.”

In the Islamabad meeting, Afghanistan, Pakistan and UNHCR had agreed to jointly develop mutually reinforcing plans for phased voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees to their homeland and for their management in Pakistan in line with the absorption capacity in Afghanistan and the realities on the ground.

The three sides reached an understanding on introducing an Enhanced Voluntary Return and Reintegration Package (EVRRP) programme to stimulate voluntary repatriation and support sustainable reintegration of Afghan refugees.

They had also agreed to undertake joint fundraising initiatives for the implementation of the EVRRP.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 22nd, 2015.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • MGA
    Aug 22, 2015 - 9:02AM

    Dear Minister
    What we Pakistani People want you to warn Afghan in very strong word, shut down Afghan Transit till they apologized for their outburst and kick out all Afghan from Pakistani Soil.
    Until and unless, they behave, shut down the Afghan Transit.Recommend

  • Shafiullah Shirazi
    Aug 22, 2015 - 10:17AM

    Why does Afghan’s official not asking their fast friend India to accept these three million refugees? Every Afghan hates Pakistan while eat, enjoy and live in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Rizwan
    Aug 22, 2015 - 12:23PM

    They should be sent back, but in phases so that they can wrap up their lives in Pakistan over the next 3 years. The few successful and educated ones should be able to stay if they renounce afghan citizenship and become Pakistanis. All those who were living in Pakistan should get visa free access to visit Pakistan, but not work or live in it.Recommend

  • Sami
    Aug 22, 2015 - 12:53PM

    Afghan refugees should go to India.Recommend

  • Aug 22, 2015 - 4:03PM

    Simply we cannot afford it. Not only Afghani the entire illicit migration from Karachi to Peshawar should be subject to the same circuit.. Its another burden on Pakistan economy despite our limited resources. Accommodating three million plus peoples is a big task for country like Pakistan. The Peshawar high court has legally paved the way for repatriation. (A nation in crisis is not accountable for refugee in flow UNCHR) Despite all our hospitality and effort they are in denial. Iran & India wont facilitate these migrant even temporarily. The crime rates in Pakistan has sky rocketed since these alien with relax implementation of our immigration law. Any more extension to stay is not the solution to this issue.Recommend

  • Abdul Rahim
    Oct 20, 2015 - 3:17PM

    Respected friends AOA

    i have been living in karachi pakistan since 1999 i am thankful to pakistan for the refuge they have provided from that time when i was child and now i am a young man ofcourse we worked hard we survived during these years but now we are adopted to this country with the people with the weather and adopted being a refugee
    i would like to mention 2 points here
    1 those afghan refugees who has claimed asylum from UNHCR why they dont accelerate to their cases, they should accelerate as long as those asylum seekers who’s life is really in danger in afghanistan

    2 pakistan should not force to repatriate or cancel the PoR cards extension to beyond 2015 as pakistan become the 1st in rank for hosting the refugees for more then 30 years so best mechanism will be here to give time and push UNHCR and Afghan Government to facilitate a good way of repatriation

    Thanks yours sincerely

    Abdul RahimRecommend

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