Islamabad [Pakistan]: About 2,40,000 Afghan refugees will be repatriated every month after Eid-ul Azha, said Chief Commissioner for Afghan Refugees Dr Imran Zaib on Friday.
“December 31 had been fixed as a deadline for the return of more than 1.5 million Afghan refugees, who have legal stay in the country,” the Express Tribune quoted Zaib as saying.
Providing details of the Afghan refugees, who have already moved back to Afghanistan by the end of the last month, Zaib said that about 1,24,000 refugees who were residing illegally in different parts of Pakistan for many years have already left the country.
“More than 90,000 registered refugees were repatriated during July and August. Out of those 90,000 refugees, around 70,000 were residing in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) while the rest were settled in Punjab and Sindh,” he said.
He said that according to the official estimates, around 8,000 Afghans will leave Pakistan every day after the Eid-ul Azha, adding at present 3,000 to 3,500 such refugees are returning on a daily basis.
He, however, agreed that it would not be possible to repatriate more than 2.5 million registered and non-registered Afghans by the final deadline for their total repatriation, which is at the end of this year.
He said that a high-level conference of officials will again review the whole situation in mid-November to decide the next course of action.
“I think that a fresh deadline will have to be fixed by the government for the return of remaining Afghan refugees,” he said.
Commenting on reports that thousands of refugees, who own properties in Pakistan were facing numerous problems to sell out their houses and business centres as most of them were built unlawfully, Zaib said the government will help them in disposal of their properties.
The Commissioner, however, said that the refugees were not legally allowed to purchase land or buildings in Pakistan.
He added that it would not be possible for the Afghan refugees to return to Pakistan once they have left for their own country.
“After the newly introduced border management system no one will be allowed to enter Pakistan from Afghanistan without legal documents,” he added. (ANI)