Kabul asks Pakistan to revoke decision on refugees
KABUL: The Afghan government on Thursday urged Pakistan to revoke its recent decision regarding refugees’ forcible expulsion by the end of the current year.
Such a step would be a contravention of Geneva Conventions, warned the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation in Kabul.
There are 1.7 million Afghan refugees living legally in Pakistan, while one million others are residing there illegally.
On Tuesday, Pakistan’s SAFRON Minister Shaukatullah Khan told Pajhwok Afghan News the Cabinet had decided in 2010 to expel all Afghan refugees by the end of 2012. That decision should be enforced, he said.
But a spokesman for the Afghan ministry, Islamuddin Jurat, said that Pakistan was yet to get in touch with them on the issue. “We have heard from the media that Pakistan wants to expel refugees.”
Forcing out Afghan refugees would represent a breach of the Geneva Conventions, allowing refugees to leave a country on their own choice, he added.
In May, Pakistan and Iran promised at an international conference in Switzerland that they would not force Afghan refugees to leave. They renewed the promise at a conference in Turkmenistan.
Afghan government and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) would work together to prevent Afghan refugees’ expulsion from Pakistan, the spokesman continued.
“If Pakistan throws out three million refugees at one fell swoop, the Afghan government and ordinary people will run into serious problems,” Jurat feared.
The government could provide basic facilities for only 400,000 returnees, according to the spokesman, saying the facilities included shelter for 72 hours, transport cost, $150 for each returnee and land plots.--(PAN)
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