By Abbas Ali Chohan
ISLAMABAD, Dec.11 (APP): Hosting a sizeable number of Afghan Refugees that is more than 3 million for a long period of about four decades reflects Pakistan’s goodwill gesture towards a brotherly country Afghanistan.
Pakistan has so far spent approximately, over US dollars 100 billion on provision of facilities to the Afghan Refugees that encompass health, education, shelter and food.
Henceforth, Pakistan has produced thousands of doctors, engineers, lawyers and skilled workers from amongst Afghan Refugees.
Talking to APP, an Aghan Refugee Abdullah Khan said, “I was born here in Pakistan got the education now I am doing a job in a private engineering office; I think it is honor for me but my family wants to go back to their home country so I would like to deliver the services in Afghanistan.”
He said that Pakistan was a great brotherly country of Afghanistan, thousands of people got the technical, professional and skilled education and were delivering their services back in Afghanistan and playing role in the development of the country.
He said they were seven siblings and with the blessing of God all were well educated and by the next year they would go back to their home town.
Nasarullah Khan a vendor at Pirwadhi said that most of his family members have returned to Afghanistan because the environment of peace was better as compared to the past decades and so there were many opportunities for the laborers, skilled workers, and professionals in Afghanistan.
Despite limited resources, Pakistan as a Muslim brotherly country of Afghanistan has played a vital role in accommodating the Afghan refugees throughout their troubled time for about 37 years.
Pakistan allowed them to mix with local population. The Afghan Refugees are predominantly ethnic Pashtunes and merged well with Pakistan’s Pashtun well.
Pakistan has provided space to Afghan refugees in residential areas. They were also provided with shelter, food, health, education, business opportunities, and access to other amenities of life.
The border between the two countries remained open for welcoming the refugees since 1979.
These refugees reached Pakistan and started living in the different
parts of the country, especially Khyber Pukhtunkhwa and Baluchistan. The
refugees entered through the Torkham Border near Peshawar and
Chaman border near Quetta. With the support of United Nations
High┬ Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), two major camps were also
established for the registration process of Refugees: one camp was setup in
Jalozai in Noshera District and other was established in Baleli Baluchistan.
However, due to the limited resources, the country in general and the two provinces were badly affected economically and socially after a huge
migration of the Afghan refugees.
According to the data of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) 1.9 million refugees were registered while same number was un registered afghan refugees. Almost a generation of Afghan refugees has grown up in Pakistan who knows very little about their home country, Afghanistan.
Around 1.3 million registered refugees are living in different parts of the country , while around 33 percent Proof of Registration (PoR) holders are living in the camps and 67 percent living off camps, 74 percent children of refugees born in Pakistan whereas 70 per cent are under age 24.
Recently Ministry of SAFRON called a meeting of Parliamentarian
parties on the issue of Repatriation and Management policy for Afghan
Chief Minister of KPK Pervaiz Khattak said that after the attack on┬ Army Public School (APS) and Mardan University it has been ground that Afghans were involved in this heinous act.
Now in the current situation, Pakistan is not in a position to further extend time to Afghan refugees due to rise in ratio in unemployment, overloadeded health and education sector. The country has demanded from the
international community for peaceful repatriation of the refugees as in
major parts of Afghanistan peace has been restored.
Pakistani government has already held several dialogues with the Afghan government for the safe return of Afghan refugees and the President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani has taken the repatriation process positively and has promised that Afghanistan will accommodate its refugees in different phases.
In this regard, the Embassy of Afghanistan is playing a vital role
and holding meetings with the elder of Afghan refugees for the voluntarily repatriation. The Embassy has also launched a campaign with the slogan of Khpal watan, gul watan (One’s own country is like flower) for attracting the refugees for peaceful return.
Afghan government is providing agriculture land and other facilities
to the returned refugees in the provinces of Jalalabad and Qandhar.
All political parliamentary parties are on one page and wanted the early, safe, respectful and peaceful repatriation of all refugees, and have
proposed to extend the date of Voluntarily repatriation till December