Resolving refugee problems key to stability: Atifmal
Attiqullah Atifmal, speaking during a general session of the Meshrano Jirga, said there were 7.5 million Afghan refugees living in over 52 countries. Around three million live in Pakistan and 1.5 million in Iran.
According to Atifmal, the refugees were eager to return home on condition of having the opportunity to live with dignity.
“Until these refugees do not return home, we won’t witness peace in the country. They are being used by these countries to pressure our government,” he told senators.
Minister of Refugees and Repatriation Syed Hussein Alami Balkhi told the MPs it was necessary to provide settlements and employment for the refugees or their return would be temporary.
Balkhi said there were at least 22 towns for refugees across Afghanistan but without any infrastructure and housing facilities.
After returning from Islamabad, he said Pakistan had promised not to coerce Afghan refugees into repatriation, a cabinet member said on Saturday, a day after returning from Islamabad.
Officials from Afghanistan, Pakistan and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) met last week to discuss the problems of refugees living there.
Balkhi added the registration process for 1.5 million refugees without documents would be set in motion soon.
Illegal refugees would be registered in a month’s time and their harassment and forcible repatriation stopped, the minister said, citing commitments from the host country.
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