Afghan refugees in Pakistan to return home by end of 2015

Pakistan’s government informed the Lower House of the cabinet that it has planned to send the Afghan refugees back home by December 2015.

The Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions retired Lt Gen Abdul Qadir Baloch told the National Assembly on Thursday that the government has planned to complete repatriation of Afghan refugees by December 2015. The Minister further added that since the repatriation was on a voluntary basis, it could not be said with certainty whether or not the process would be completed by the new deadline.

The Minister informed that the two countries share a long porous border and Pakistan accommodating over 1.63 million Afghans out of which 1.4 million were unregistered. The repatriation was done on the voluntary basis under an agreement between Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

The previous deadline set by the agreement was December 31, 2012 that was extended till approval by the cabinet of the new national policy for Afghan refugees. The Minister informed that in order to encourage the Afghans to return home, a repatriation package of USD 100 per returnee had been enhanced to USD 150 with free transportation to Afghanistan.

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