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Pakistan halts expulsion of illegal Afghan refugees

Pakistan halts expulsion of illegal Afghan refugees

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10 Jul 2024 - 16:20
Pakistan halts expulsion of illegal Afghan refugees
author avatar
10 Jul 2024 - 16:20

KABUL (Pajhwok): Pakistan has suspended the expulsion of undocumented Afghan refugees following discussions with the UNHCR chief.

The Afghan embassy in Islamabad wrote on X Ambassador Mohammad Sardar Ahmad Shakib also met UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi on Tuesday.

It said Shakib thanked Grandi for his trip to Pakistan to assess the situation of Afghan refugees living in Pakistan.

According to Shakib, it is necessary to hold three-way meetings on refugee issues from time to time so that Afghans can live in Pakistan under a proper mechanism and a policy free from politics.

The ambassador told Grandi if they closely monitored the situation of Afghan refugees, they would better understand their problems.

For his part, Grandi said: “We know the expulsion of Afghan refugees is largely a politically-promoted action.” He appreciated Pakistan for suspending the forced deportation of Afghan refugees.

In a statement, the UNHCR said wrapping up his three-day visit, Grandi, called for a bolstering of efforts towards longer-term solutions for Afghans in Pakistan, and support for their host communities.

Grandi visited Peshawar and Haripur in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, meeting Afghan refugees in urban settings as well as in a refugee village.

People he met shared a message of anxiety regarding their situation, but also of their desire to contribute to their communities in Pakistan, as well as eventually in Afghanistan.

In Islamabad, Grandi met with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Foreign Minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar and Minister for States and Frontier Regions Amir Muqam, along with senior officials from the Ministries of Interior and Foreign Affairs.

During his discussions, he called for the timely extension of the Proof of Registration (PoR) cards, a critical identity document held by over 1.3 million Afghan refugees.

Grandi expressed appreciation that the “Illegal Foreigners Repatriation Plan” had been suspended and sought assurances that it would remain on hold. He called for Pakistan’s proud tradition of hospitality towards those Afghans with international protection needs to continue.


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