Demand for repatriation of Afghan refugees
MAINSTREAM politicians and the common people, from the Tribal areas to Balochistan, as well as people belonging to other strata of society, are now increasingly demanding return of Afghan refugees to their homeland. The rationale of this demand is very simple and genuine. These refugees are not only a heavy burden on the country’s economy but are also creating security and law and order situation. There is now a general public opinion that Pakistan has amply played the role of a neighbour and host for the Afghans and it is time that they go back to their country. International community especially UNHCR has an important role to play in this regard.
Pakistan has been hosting these refugees for the past three and a half decades, which has left socio economic and security impact especially in the Provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. There was time when the people of Pakistan happily and with great affection cuddled the Afghans because of the war and conflict in their country but now realizing the fall out of their over stay, the public opinion leaders at the national level as well as the people of KP and Balochistan are vocally demanding their return. A protest demonstration taken out in Peshawar on Monday, provides a food for thought to the decision makers. There is a general perception that restoration of complete peace will remain a far cry as long as arrangements are not made for the early repatriation of the refugees. In fact there is a reasonable ground for this perception, as instances are there, especially after the launch and visible success Zarb-e-Azb operation, which prove that some of the Afghans refugees are not only involved in different crimes but are hand in glove with India to perpetrate acts of terrorism on Pakistani soil. They have also been found involved in getting fake Pakistani ID cards and passports. In this backdrop, responsibility rests with the government to chalk out a clear-cut strategy in collaboration with the UNHCR for expeditious return of the refugees. Further extension in their stay would continue to add to the strategic problems of Pakistan and won’t allow the attainment of the objective of durable peace in the region.
HURMAT GROUP OF PUBLICATIONS