Unregistered Afghans to be repatriated
Apr 17, 2007 - 6:53:23 PM

Islamabad, April 17 - Pakistan has decided to forcefully repatriate those Afghan refugees who have not registered with local authorities under a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees - sponsored programme, a press report said Tuesday.

Afghans not holding the Proof of Registration - cards will be taken into custody and sent back to their homeland, the Pakistan government's Commissionerate of Afghan Refugees director, Imran Zeb Khan, told The News daily.

The government had fixed an April 15 deadline for the return of unregistered Afghan refugees.

Under a registration exercise carried out by the Pakistani authorities, more that 2.15 million displaced people from Afghanistan received the PoR cards that legalized their stay in the country up to December 2009.

The deadline coincided with the closure of the UNHCR emergency repatriation programme under which 205,997 refugees returned to Afghanistan since March. Each returnee was also provided with $100 as assistance.

According to the figures released by the United Nation's refugee agency, more than 3 million Afghans have voluntarily returned with its assistance since 2002.

However, tens of thousands are still thought to be living in Pakistan illegally and many of them have even got themselves registered as Pakistani nationals.

Islamabad wants to close down the Afghan refugee camps, mostly situated along its border with Afghanistan, amid reports that the Taliban and criminals often take shelter in these facilities.

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