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    Don’t expel refugees in haste, Islamabad urged

    KABUL (PAN): The Civil Society Coordination Centre (CSCC), a coalition of Afghan civil society groups, on Monday said that, along with its Pakistani counterparts, they had urged Islamabad not to expel refugees in haste.

    CSCC members told a press conference in Kabul that a 15-member group of Afghan civil society activists travelled to Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province a week ago.

    The delegates met their Pakistani counterparts and discussed the problems facing Afghan refugees in the neighbouring country.

    CSCC spokesman Hiyatullah Hayat said they wanted the Afghans living in Pakistan to be treated in line with human rights -- and internationally ratified conventions on the protection of refugees.

    He added civil society groups on both sides of the border had announced the creation of the Pak-Afghan People’s Foundation that would work for the development and improvement of security in the two countries.

    CSCC member Malai Shinwari said they were trying to enhance contacts with people of regional countries instead of governments, as the masses had the power to pressure the rulers to resolve problems.

    “Governments often tell lies and try to deceive the masses, who stick to their promises and pledges,” she remarked.

    She said they had launched joint efforts with Pakistani counterparts to increase people-to-people contacts and work for boosting bilateral trade.

    Another CSCC member, Sharifa Zurmati, feared that the withdrawal of foreign troops, coupled with a deteriorating security situation and not-so-friendly relations with neighbours, would have a bad impact on the country’s future.

    “That is why we need to improve our relations with the people of neighbouring countries,” she concluded.