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Repatriation of Afghan refugees from Pakistan to begin in March

AT-KABUL: The process of the Afghan migrants’ repatriation from Pakistan would begin in March, the ministry of refugees and repatriates said Monday, urging it should be voluntarily.

“The process was delayed for three months and it would restart after a few days. We welcome the repatriates and the process is in priority of the government, but the repatriation should be gradual, voluntarily and honorary,” Hafiz Miakhel, the ministry’s adviser said.

Pakistan hosts nearly three million Afghan migrants. On Sunday, Pakistani media quoted the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, as saying that those migrants who do not want to register for returning home, would be deprived of its assistances.

Pakistani Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, called international assistance important in the Afghan migrants’ repatriation.

Pakistan army chief of staff, Qamar Javed Bajwa claimed in the Munich Security Conference that Taliban and the Haqqani network use migrant’s camps for their goals in Pakistan.

But the claim was denied by Afghan government. “Our migrant compatriots are victims of terrorism. Migration is a humanitarian issue and we expect Pakistan not to politicize this matter,” Miakhel said.

Some two million migrants have returned home for the past three years, but there are still 1.4 million registered migrants in Pakistan.

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