Some plots allotted to returnees grabbed: Balkhi
MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Refugee and Repatriation Minister Syed Hussain Alami Balkhi on Thursday said land plots meant for distribution to returning refugee families had been given to ineligible people in some provinces.
Balkhi was addressing newly returned refugee families in Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province.
During his visit, the minister inaugurated a health clinic and a school in two refugees’ townships in the city.
Balkhi told reporters he had paid several formal visits to Iran and Pakistan to get improved the situation of Afghan refugees there.
“We have reached an agreement with Pakistan that Afghan refugees in that country would no longer be forced to return to their country. The refugees would be helped by the Pakistani government anytime they want to return to Afghanistan,” he said.
He said work on a similar agreement was also underway with Iran, but it needed some more time to be signed.
He said land plots measuring 1,017 acres had been devoted to returning refugee families in 29 provinces and so far 100,000 plots had been distributed to them.
Balkhi said his ministry planned to give each returning refugee family of five members $5,000. He said a survey had been launched to ascertain the number displaced families and provide them with safe livelihood in their areas.
He confirmed some land plots had been grabbed or given to ineligible people in some provinces. Citing an example, he said, land plots in some areas of Balkh and Helmand provinces had been distributed to irrelevant people.
He said some land plots in Carpet Weaving Refugees’ Township had been distributed to disqualified individuals.
“One of the aims of my visit to the northern zone is to evaluate the situation of all returning refugees and provide them with their rights through legal channels,” he said.
The minister said Afghan refugees in foreign countries were interested in homecoming but there were no proper livelihood facilities in their homeland.
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