Forced repatriation of refugees not under consideration: Baloch
Islamabad—Minster for States and Frontier Regions Abdul Qadir Baloch said that Pakistan desires dignified return of Afghans to their homeland. In an interview, he said the option of forced repatriation of Afghan refugees is not under consideration by the time. The Minister said the Afghan refugees had to go back by December 2015, but deadline was repeatedly extended. Now Pakistan’s economy can no more afford their burden.
He said Pakistan does not have capacity to absorb such big chunk of population and whatever time they stay in the country, their status will be that of refugees and finally they will have to go back. He said the option of forced repatriation of Afghan refugees is not under consideration by the time as Pakistan desires dignified return of Afghans to their motherland.
“By the time no such option is under consideration. They had to go back by December 2015 but deadline was repeatedly extended. Now Pakistan economy can no more afford their burden,” he said in a private news channel program. He said Pakistan does not have capacity to absorb such big chunk of population and whatever time they stay here, their status will be that of refugees and finally they will have to go back. “Neither our economy has capacity to host them permanently nor our law have any provision to absorb them. It is therefore responsibility of the United Nations and the Afghan government to ensure their repatriation.”
He said as per commitment the Afghan government had to take number of measures for their return including housing, health, education, land leveling and employment facilities for them. “But nothing on ground has been done so far instead of mere statements and commitments.”
Baloch said on July 19 Afghan Minister will visit Pakistan in this regard and Pakistan emphasize on him to take concrete measures for their return. “It was our commitment to host them and repatriate in a dignified manner and we still stand by our commitment. Now, it is their turn to fulfill commitments and if they will fail, we shall look for other options,” he said.
Answering a question, he said, “at this stage, I shall not say anything with respect to their forced repatriation. Our utmost effort would be to persuade the Afghan government and international community to manage their respectable return,” Baloch added. “If our concerns will not be considered seriously, then we shall have to revisit the clause of voluntary return,” he added. He said out of three million refugees, only 1.5 million are registered and Pakistan is bearing their burden on its economy which is no more bearable for us.—APP