Afghan refugees affect Pakistan’s economy: minister

Friday, August 16th, 2013 12:01:39 by

The National Assembly was informed on Friday that the long presence of Afghan refugees has left negative impact on Pakistan’s economy and the international community should be more forthcoming in their assistance.

Minister for States and Frontier Regions Lt General [Retd] Abdul Qadir Baloch told the House during question hour that the policy‚ which has been submitted to the Cabinet for consideration‚ suggests multiple steps aiming at creating conditions conducive for voluntary repatriation‚ creation of livelihood opportunities in Afghanistan to facilitate return and resettlement.

He said there are 1.62 million registered Afghan refugees in the country while the figure of unregistered refugees is also the same. He said that efforts are being made to register the unregistered refugees.

He said the voluntary repatriation centres set up in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan will now remain operational throughout the year to facilitate voluntary repatriation. The repatriation package of hundred dollars per returnee has been enhanced to 150 dollars to encourage the Afghan refugees to go back to their homeland. He said 3.8 million Afghan refugees have been repatriated to their homeland during the last eleven years.

The Minister said the time frame for the repatriation of Afghan refugees has been extended to December 2015. The international community has committed 610 million dollars assistance for development of districts inhabited by Afghan refugees.

The minister said he will be visiting Geneva on 20 August to discuss the issue of Afghan refugees with the head of UNHCR.

He said that a policy has been formulated for the repatriation of remaining Afghan refugees to their homeland.


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