KABUL (Pajhwok): Afghan refugees living in Pakistan say life in migration is full of troubles and hope if the ongoing peace talks succeed, they will be able to repatriate to their homeland and start a peaceful and better life.
Four decades back, millions of Afghans migrated to Pakistan and Iran after an unrest and political turmoil started following the bloody coup against Sardar Dawod Khan’s government and then the invasion of Afghanistan by the former Soviet Union forces.
Majority of these migrants who went to Pakistan settled there in different parts.
With the start of the peace process that witnessed some progress recently, Afghan refugees in Pakistan have become optimistic about peace in the country and they believe that peace would pave the way for their return to the country.
AjmalRehan, a resident of Shakardara locality, who currently lives in the Akora Khattak Camp of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said he spent each day in the hope that durable peace would return to Afghanistan.
“We all want to return to our country because living in migration is terrible. We face different problems daily but our hope for peace in our own country remains unrealized due the conflict,” he said.
Rehan said he would eat bread in his own country if peace and stability returned to the motherland.
Azizullah, a he resident of Nangarhar’s Batikot district who is currently living in a rental house in Peshawar City, also complained about refugee life.
“Police harass us daily under different pretexts due to which our life is colorless and we suffer from depression,” he said.
“The ongoing war in our country has snatched everything from us. We cannot go to our villages and homes. We cannot get the profit of our agriculture land as well.”
Azizullah hoped that the ongoing fighting and unfortunate incidents would end and peace would return to the country.
“We are ready for every sacrifice for peace. If peace comes at the cost of our heads, we are ready for this as well,” he said.
Mohammad Hamid, another Afghan refugee, said that quality of education in refugee schools was low and local schools, colleges and universities did not provide more chances to Afghans.
“This is why this Afghan generation is illiterate and deprived of higher education,” he believed.
He said Afghan refugees faced problems in routine affairs. “We work as daily wagers, but when a security incident occurs, police first point finger at Afghan migrants and create problems for them.”
Hamid said all refugees were hopeful for durable peace and stability in the country so they could return to their homeland and painful life comes to an end.
Dr. Khair Mohammad Khairkhwa, who serves as principal in one of schools in Pakistan, said if peace returned to the country, he along and family will repatriate before everyone else begin to repatriate.
He said living a refugee life is difficult and he has gone through a lot of troubles. Khairkhwa says peace is life and insecurity badly impacts people’s life and face them with mental pressure.
“Through media we hear about insecurity and incidents of violence that happen in the country. We really get hurt when our people suffer casualties. What kind of conflict is this that it does not end after four decades,” he questioned.
He said they waited for peace like a tired passenger but they wanted a peace which was not short-lived.
Fazli Maula, another Afghan migrant in Pakistan who belongs to Nangarhar’s Kama district, said due to the lack of peace and stability in their own country, they spent days and nights in Pakistan as refugees.
He said few years earlier half of his family members returned to the country after the situation somehow became stable but half of his family still awaited durable peace in the country.
“In the past, we often traveled to Afghanistan for our social and family relationship, but now the situation has worsened. Due to insecurity, I could not travel to the country for the past two years,” he noted.
Qariburrahman, another Afghan migrant who runs a shop in a camp and earns lawfully for his children, said that refugee life is full of troubles and they faced several problems.
According to Qariburrahman, he lived away from family and friends alone in Pakistan and maintaining relationship was difficult for him. “If Allah brings peace to the country, I will return to my home and village,” he wished.
Abdul Hameed Jalili, former head of Afghan refugees in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said that peace remained the top priority for all Afghans and it has no alternative.
He added every Afghan refugee remained hopeful for peace and all have one dream that peace shall return to the county so they could repatriate to their homes.
Jalili said most of Afghans have born in Pakistan and they have the dream to return to the country and start life there.
The former refugees head said some Afghans have comfortable life as they run their business but majority suffer from problems and hope for peace and stability in the country so they could return back.
He said currently two millions Afghan lived in Pakistan including 1.5 million registered and 500,000 unregistered.
This report has been produced by Pajhwok and financially supported by UNDP.