PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has opposed further extension in the stay of Afghan refugees in Pakistan.
KP Information Minister Shaukat Yousafzai has said the provincial government has recommended to the Centre that the deadline for stay of Afghan refugees in Pakistan, which will expire on June 30, must not be extended. The provincial minister was of the view that Pakistan’s peace, business activities and infrastructure was affected due to the long stay of Afghan refugees.
Shaukat Yousafzai said KP hosted Afghan refugees for 40 years, but it affected law and order in KP and rest of the country. He appealed to the Afghan refugees to go back to their country and help in countering propaganda against Pakistan. He said time has come for Afghan refugees to go back to their country and the government hopes for the Afghan nationals to take good memories with them.
He said the government has no plans to extend the stay of Afghan refugees in Pakistan. He urged the federal government not to extend the stay of refugees in Pakistan and finalise arrangements for the repatriation of refugees.
Earlier, Minister of State for States and Frontier Regions (Safron) Shaharyar Afridi had urged the global community to play its due role in the process of repatriation of Afghan refugees to their homeland.
Addressing a gathering in Kohat, the minister said the Afghan refugees living in Pakistan must abide by the local laws and stay faithful to Pakistan. Shaharyar said Pakistan hosted Afghan refugees during difficult circumstances for the last four decades. He said Pakistan suffered economic difficulties, but never passed this financial impact on to the Afghan guests. The minister said that anyone pointing fingers at Pakistan could never be a friend of neither Pakistan nor Afghanistan.
He said Pakistan doesn’t want anything in return for its generous hosting of Afghan refugees. He said Afghans must respect Pakistan’s territorial integrity and geographical boundaries. He also urged the Afghans to respect the sanctity of Pakistan’s federating units.
Mr Afridi said Prime Minister Imran Khan had set another precedence of refugee mainstreaming by allowing Afghans to open bank accounts in Pakistan and do official businesses in the country.