Tripartite meeting: Kabul seeks 2 more years for Afghan refugees in Pakistan

Published: August 23, 2015
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Pakistani delegation says request will be shared with concerned departments, discussed in federal cabinet. PHOTO: INP

Pakistani delegation says request will be shared with concerned departments, discussed in federal cabinet. PHOTO: INP

ISLAMABAD: 

Kabul has requested Islamabad to allow nearly 1.5 million registered Afghan refugees to stay on in Pakistan for another two years, officials said on Saturday as a meeting of the representatives of both governments and the UN refugee agency concluded in the Afghan capital.

The tripartite talks focused on the fate of nearly three million Afghan refugees in Pakistan, the largest protracted refugee situation in the world. In addition to the registered refugees, Pakistan hosts another 1.5 million unregistered Afghan nationals displaced by unrest in its war-torn neighbour.

Talking to The Express Tribune, an official who attended the meeting confirmed that Kabul had asked Islamabad to allow the registered refugees to stay in Pakistan for two more years. The legal stay of 1.5 million Afghans who have been issued proof of registration (PoR) cards by the Pakistan government is set to expire by the end of this year.

“The Pakistani delegation [led by Minister for States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) Lt-Gen (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch] told the Afghan side that their request will be shared with concerned departments and the issue will later be discussed in the federal cabinet,” the official said.

The Pakistani delegation also presented Islamabad’s strategy to deal with the refugees during the meeting. According to a Pakistani official who participated in the meeting, Islamabad will not forcibly expel Afghan refugees. Instead, the government will encourage them to return to Afghanistan voluntarily, he said.

Under the strategy, Pakistan will also document unregistered Afghan refugees, the official told The Express Tribune. The government has earmarked around Rs170 million for this process which is likely to begin this month, he said.

Although the unregistered refugees will not be entitled to PoR cards once documented, they will be issued passports by the government of Afghanistan to allow them to stay on in Pakistan.

Addressing a joint news conference alongside Pakistan’s SAFRON minister in Kabul, Afghanistan’s Minister for Refugees and Repatriation Said Hussain Alimi Balkhi said his government will send a 100-member delegation to Pakistan to monitor the documentation of the unregistered refugees.

Members of the delegation will be deployed at the 21 documentation centres set up to verify the identities of unregistered Afghans, he said. “Only those Afghans whose identity is established will be documented,” Balkhi added.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 23rd, 2015.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • IKE
    Aug 23, 2015 - 8:40AM

    Bad decision by Nawaz Government. It now 4 decades long issue. Why should Pakistan keep spending this money? Enough is Enough. Afghans should go home. Recommend

  • Ahmad
    Aug 23, 2015 - 11:22AM

    No, ask your sugar daddy India take them. We are kicking them out.Recommend

  • Ali Jatoi
    Aug 23, 2015 - 12:26PM

    After that much crap how can ugly and selfish afghans expect us to allow Indian agents in form of afghan here in pakistan. .. why don’t India or Iran take these selfish people in. .. We did enough for them now it’s time tit for tatRecommend

  • Ali Jatoi
    Aug 23, 2015 - 12:28PM

    kick them out they may ask their Indian dady to take them inRecommend

  • Muddasser Shah
    Aug 23, 2015 - 1:27PM

    Afghan government is uttering poison against Pakistan yet they expect us to keep their 2 Million refugees who practically are a bigger problem than having 4 million refugees. Sugar Dady of Afghanistan i.e. “India” should take them.. We will allow Wagah border for that.Recommend

  • Sarfaraz
    Aug 23, 2015 - 2:04PM

    Just ask ur papa India to provide u further refuge. Enough of hospitality and Islamic brotherhood. Burning Pakistani flag and blaming us for ur own failure is what v got in response ? I am sorry to say but this country (Afghanistan) if I am not wrong in calling it a country instead of a mob; is only obedient to those who are capable of hammering them round the clock. Please just take back ur cluster of suicide bombers and don’t blame us in future.Recommend

  • Dishum
    Aug 23, 2015 - 8:46PM

    India would gladly take afghan refugees, remember last time you gave india refugees in EP, india created new country for them. Now if want to send afghan refugee to india,you are welcome. ‘Pakhtunistah’ will be new nation to join your beloved UN. Burned much!!!Recommend

  • Muneeb
    Aug 24, 2015 - 1:50AM

    After two years, Kabul has requested Islamabad to allow nearly 3 million registered Afghan refugees to stay on in Pakistan for another two years.Recommend

  • attaullah
    Jan 12, 2016 - 7:15AM

    The people said that afghan refugees areRecommend

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