Back home after decades, returnee says happy despite problems
JALALABAD (Pajhwok): A large family that recently returned from Pakistan after four decades says they are happy in their own country despite struggling with numerous problems including a lack of shelter.
The family has erected 10 tents inside a long boundary wall east of Jalalabad, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province. They have many stories to tell.
They fled Afghanistan after the former Soviet Union invaded the country. Then the family had just six members and now their number has reached dozens.
One of the family members, Shah Sawar Khan, said they were actual residents of Watapur district of eastern Kunar province, but they had been living in northern Kunduz before migrating to Pakistan.
The 65-year-old, Shah Sawar Khan, was newlywed when his family, including his four unmarried brothers, migrated to Pakistan and rented a home in Mardan district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Later the family moved to a refugee camp and built a mud-made home there.
Shah Sawar Khan returned to Afghanistan at a time when his three sons have married and have children, with number of the entire family reaching 23. His four brothers are also now grandfathers.
In an interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, Shah Sawar Khan said: (In Pakistan) we would do hard labour, but our life was good because everything was affordable there. There was work every day. But here my sons rarely find work.”
Khan said all his grandchildren and the youngest son would go to school in Pakistan, but now all were out of school. The children go a religious school only.
During his initial years of migration to Pakistan, Shah Sawar Khan associated himself to a commander of the Jamiat-i-Islami party, Khaksar, a resident of Kunduz province, in order to receive aid coming to Pakistan in the name of refugees.
Before the migration, Khan said his family was associated with farming and they had a decent life. His forefathers had migrated to Kunduz from Kunar.
“Our life was good in Kunduz. There was respect and everything in life,” he said of the life before migration to Pakistan.
Shah Sawar has been struggling with various problems including the lack of shelter, electricity, work and others since returning from Pakistan.
“There was electricity and jobs in Pakistan, but in the recent months the Afghans were harassed and insulted by police who created many problems for them. The people there were very nice to us.”
He was pleased with developments that took place in Afghanistan during his migration years in Pakistan. “When I was leaving, there was in very bad situation, now I see everything has somehow improved, changed.”
He said if his sons found jobs, he would not accept government aid.
Nearly one million Afghan refugees returned from Pakistan during the past one year, with most of them staying in Nangarhar.
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