90 Afghan families evicted from Peshawar camp
KABUL (Pajhwok): Around 90 Afghan families have been evicted from a camp where they had been living since 2002 on the Pajjagi Road in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa capital Peshawar, a media report said on Saturday.
DAWN newspaper quoted relevant officials as saying that the land in Jabba Jheel area where the camp was located belonged to the Pakistan Army and that the unregistered Afghan families had been served repeated notices prior to their eviction.
The Peshawar district administration said in a statement that the operation in the camp was jointly conducted by police, civic bodies and officials of the Afghan Commissionerate.
Around 700 houses and structures were demolished and 500 kanals of land worth billion of rupees recovered and the land would formally be handed over to the army after demarcation.
Afghan refugees loaded their belongings on trucks and pickups and moved to different locations.
A relevant official said registered Afghans were allowed to move to other registered camps, while undocumented Afghan nationals were sent home.
He said the relevant authorities had been serving notices on the camp’s dwellers since 2002, but to no avail.
An elder of the camp complained that the administration began the crackdown without serving prior notices on the residents. He claimed around 500 families lived in the camp.
Around 30,000 Afghan nationals have been sent home since December 2014 after the authorities launched a campaign against unregistered Afghans in Peshawar and other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa..
Around 1.5 million registered Afghans nationals having Proof of Registration cards could stay in Pakistan by December 2015, while approximately two million Afghans have been residing illegally.
The federal government has planned to start registration of undocumented Afghans.
A commission comprising Pakistan, Afghanistan and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees will decide the fate of registered refugees in a meeting scheduled to take place in Kabul in August.
The federal and provincial governments have issued strict directives to the police and other law-enforcement agencies not to arrest or detain PoR cardholders. However, registered Afghans are detained at security checkposts.
The UNHCR and Afghan government have serious reservations about detention and harassment of registered Afghans by the police.
An official of the UN agency said the police recently arrested 27 registered Afghan nationals, who secured their release after getting legal assistance from the protection cell of the UNHCR.
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