ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The federal government has categorically denied that it is considering an extension for Afghan refugees to stay in Pakistan beyond June 30 (tomorrow), the last official date for their stay in terror-stricken country.
Talking exclusively to Dispatch News Desk (DND) news agency, the Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) Lt General (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch said on Wednesday that the federal government had not yet decided to grant any extension to Afghan refugees to stay in Pakistan.
The minister said that Pakistan wanted voluntary and dignified return of Afghan refugees to their country.
It is pertinent to mention here that millions of Afghan nationals have been living in Pakistan for decades when they flooded towards Pakistan during Soviet war in 1980. However, their official stay in Pakistan is expiring on June 30 and after that, their stay in the country will be considered as illegal.
Now it’s up to the federal government that what initiatives it take to deal with the Afghan refugees.
Earlier the media reports citing officials said that Pakistan was ready to give extension to registered refugees till 2017 as per request made by the Afghan government.
The northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where most of the Afghan nationals are residing, has formally informed the federal government of its reservations over giving further extension to the Afghan refugees. The provincial government advised the federal government not to give further extension to Afghan refugees to stay in Pakistan.
Last week, the Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said in an interview that Afghan refugee camps within Pakistan had turned into safe havens for terrorists after the country’s armed forces destroyed the militants’ infrastructure in tribal areas.
“We have re-established our writ over FATA but if Afghan border remains unregulated, our tribal areas can’t stay safe,” the adviser said.