Deportation of Afghan refugees




THE people of Pakistan have always shown great kind heartedness and generosity towards the Afghan people.

A recent manifestation of this can be seen in a petition filed in the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) urging it to restrain the federal government from detaining or forcefully deporting Afghan refugees.

Pakistan has been hosting millions of Afghan refugees over the last many decades. In fact our country has embraced more refugees than any other people in the entire history of the modern world.

Their numbers have further increased in the wake of pullout of NATO forces from Afghanistan.

The question is for how long our country will continue to host them. At present, we are already faced with immense challenges including that of economy and security.

These refugees are an extra-burden on our economy and, in fact, the very movement of Afghans to and from Afghanistan is also raising the issues of smuggling of dollars and other goods.

The Exchange Companies Association of Pakistan is on record which stated that the country has been facing the large scale outflow of US dollars to Afghanistan ever since the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul last year.

This has eroded Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves. Then, the presence of these refugees also entails security problems for us. Under the guise of ordinary citizens, the undesirable elements also cross into Pakistan.

Since the situation is far better in Afghanistan when compared with Pakistan, a mechanism should be evolved for the early and dignified return of all Afghan refugees to their homeland.

The international community and the UN Refugee Agency should fulfil their responsibility in this regard.

For long, Pakistan has hosted these refugees without any significant support from outside. The world must now come forward and create a pull factor in Afghanistan for the resettlement of these Afghans to their country.

It is also for our authorities concerned to further strengthen security at borders with Afghanistan to check smuggling of dollars, goods as well as movement of undesirable elements.

We should also strongly raise the issue of cross-border attacks with the Afghan authorities.