Kabul wants registered Afghans to stay in Pakistan until 2020
PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): Pakistan has received a formal request from the Afghan government for a four years extension to 1.5 million registered refugees, a media report said on Monday.
The legal stay of registered Afghanrefugees in Pakistan will expire by the end of June, but the Ashraf Ghani administration is not yet ready to meet the needs of the returnees due to problems, including insecurity.
Led by Minister for Refugees and Repatriation Syed Hussain Alemi Balkhi, a high-level delegation recently requested Pakistan to extend the stay of refugees until 2020.
But Islamabad is yet to respond to the request, Dawn said, adding: “Afghanistan wants its citizens to remain in Pakistan till 2020,” he added.
Hosting more than three million registered and undocumented Afghans, Pakistan has been granting extensions to the documented refugees since 2009.
The newspaper quoted an official as saying that Pakistan was willing to grant extension to registered refugees until 2017 -- an offer that was held out at the tripartite commission meeting in Kabul.
Afghanistan and UNHCR say refugees should not be forced to return to their country and that the process should be completed through aUN-sponsored voluntary repatriation programme.
“However, four to five families were returning under the voluntary repatriation plan on a daily basis. It would take decades to complete the process if it was left to voluntary repatriation,”Pakistani officials say.
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