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    Problems if Pakistan expels Afghans: official

    JALALABAD (PAN): The Refugee and Repatriation Department of eastern Nangarhar province on Wednesday warned of problems if Pakistan expelled Afghan refugees.

    Since 2001, 125,000 families have returned to the province from a Pakistani camp. Of the returnees, 65,000 households have no shelter, the  refugee director said.

    Ghulam Haidar Faqiri said this while distributing land plots to 183 families returned from the Azakhel refugee camp in the Nowshera district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

    Last year, 10,000 families returned to the province, but most of them had no housing facility, he recalled.

    “We have established two towns for the returnees in Sheikh Misri and Chamtala areas, where land for 14,000 houses has already been allotted,” he said, adding another two townships were also being built.

    He said they would be able to provide shelter for 10,000 families under a joint plan with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

    However, he added they were concerned about the Pakistan government’s decision to repatriate illegal Afghans until the end of May. “It is not easy to provide every returning family shelter, food and other equipment.”

    Another problem was that people from other provinces also opted for staying in Nangarhar after their return from Pakistan, the director concluded.