Lack of shelter, jobs impede refugees’ return
KANDAHAR (Pajhwok): Government officials say around 1,080 families have returned to southern Kandahar province from Pakistan this year, compared with more than 2,000 households in 2013.
Director of Refugee and Repatriation Affairs Muhammad Azeem Nawabi told Pajhwok 1,080 families had returned in 2014 through the Spin Boldak. They face insecurity, no job opportunities, homelessness and other miseries.
These families from different provinces of the country have now gone to their hometowns. In 2013, 2,146 families had returned.
Insecurity, instability, lack of livelihoods and homelessness are the main hurdles to refugees’ return to their homeland, according to Nawabi, who said UNHCR had opened its office in Daman and paid $200 per family coming to Afghanistan.
Nawabi conceded the ministry concerned was not in a position to support the returning families. He acknowledged the ministry was not as stable as to provide a plot to each household.
Six acres of land had been allotted to refugees some years back in Marghara area of Panjwai. There are mines planted around the site but one nongovernmental organisation has started to clear the area.
Nawabi added the ministry had sent a delegation six month ago to start work on the township scheme but practical work was yet to be launched. The department has since dispatched 10 letters to the ministry on the subject.
As many as 2,800 refugee families have applied so far for plots, but the land is not enough. Around 3,000 acres of land has been set aside for a township for refugees in Daman.
Nawabi hoped none of the refugees would stay in neighboring countries if they shelters and livelihood opportunities in their homeland. The refugees face a host of problems in Pakistan due to unstable security conditions and unemployment.
Nawabi is hopeful the new government will take immediate action to build housings for refugees. Returnees from Pakistan, meanwhile, are passing through miseries.
Haji Abdul Salam, an elder of a 13-member family, returned from Quetta three years back. He has since been experiencing problems, living in a rented house in Kandahar.
He told Pajhwok Afghan News he had not got any support from the UN while living in miserable conditions. He has been without a livelihood. He has to work hard for low wages to support his family.
He complained the government had not yet taken any concrete step to build a township for refugees.
Abdul Manan, a resident of Kandahar, also asked the new government to provide shelters to the refugees. Around five million Afghans are presently living in Pakistan and Iran.
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