UNHCR announces package for repatriation of refugees
QUETTA: UN refugee agency has announced special relief package for Afghan refugees for their voluntary return to Afghanistan during November and December 2012 under which returning Afghan refugees would be paid 150 dollars, free transport and house hold items.
A press release issued by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Quetta Office here on Sunday said that during the current 0 year more than 16 thousand Afghan refugees have returned to Afghanistan while more than one hundred thousand from 2007 till to date have gone back from Balochistan.
UNHCR Head in Balochistan Charles Lunch, Commissioner Afghan Refugees Balochistan Abdul Saboor Kakar and Director Afghan Refugees matters at Afghan Consulate Murtaza Khurmi saw off twenty three families comprising 104 members who were returned to Afghanistan on Saturday.
Repatriating Afghan Refugees were of the view they were living in Pakistan for several decade. They were feeling pleasure while returning to their homeland from Pakistan and at the same time they were feeling grief leaving this country.
UNHCR has completed records of returned families such as National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), Iris test and others.
Charles Lynch told that from January till now a total of 3335 Afghan families including 16320 individuals have been sent back to their country. He said under this package all such Afghan families can benefit who have Proof of Registration (PoR) cards. This package would end on December 31, 2012.
He said voluntary repatriation process would continue after that date. Afghan representative Murtaza Khurami said that UNHCR assistance for voluntary return of Afghan refugees is praise worthy.
It would help them to start better life in Afghanistan. He called upon UNHCR officials to extend enhanced voluntary repatriation package till December 31, 2013 because in the month of November and December there is severe cold in several parts of Afghanistan and Afghan refugees show reluctance to return to their country.
He said Afghan government has made arrangements for rehabilitation of returning refugees. He said 63 towns have been setup in 19 provinces of Afghanistan where 48 projects were under way with world organizations for providing facilities to the Afghan refugees.
He said more than 5.5 million Afghan refugees have returned to Afghanistan from Iran and Pakistan from 2002.
He asked Afghan refugees to play their role in building and development of their country and not return to Pakistan again as they would not get any assistance then.
Commissioner Afghan Refugees Balochistan Abdul Saboor Kakar lauded UNHCR efforts for facilitating repatriation of Afghan refugees which resulted in remarkable return of refugees during the current year compared to previous years.
He said PoR cards would expire on Dec 31 and it would not be extended any more. To evolve future course a meeting of Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan and UN representatives would be held in Lahore on Dec 3 and 4.
He said legal action would be taken against Afghan refugees returning to Pakistan after their repatriation to Afghanistan. It is not their issue but of entire region. He said Government of Balochistan has always extended assistance to UNHCR in repatriation of Afghan Refugees and Afghan government and would continue this cooperation.