Pakistan to repatriate Afghan refugees by 2012
In an exclusive interview, Shaukatullah told Pajhwok Afghan News, after a gathering at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Peshawar, that Pakistani cabinet had decided to send home Afghan refugees living in the country by end of this December.
He said Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran would discuss the refugee issue in Geneva at a conference in May.
He denied reports of Pakistani newspapers that Afghans would be forced to leave the country, adding that “no one would be forced to quit the country. As Afghan refugees have been living in Pakistan over the past 32 years, we want them to return to their country with honour.”
A few months ago, Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani had said that international community ignored Afghan refugees in Pakistan, so they should return to their homeland.
But Afghan residents in Pakistan say the decision was aimed at seeking funds from the international community.
Imamuddin, an Afghan living in Rawalpindi City, said Pakistan wanted to obtain money from the world by announcing the expulsion of Afghan refugees.
He said it was not the first time that Islamabad had issued such a statement and claimed that 80 percent of the aid given for Afghan refugees goes to the government.
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