Pak de­sires dig­ni­fied re­turn of Afghans

Forced repa­tri­a­tion of refugees not un­der con­sid­er­a­tion: Baloch

Pakistan Observer - - NATIONAL -

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

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