Pakistan extends permission in Afghan refugees’ stay

RefugeeISLAMABAD: Pakistani government has reportedly extended a six-month allowance for Afghan refugees to live in the country.

“Following Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sahrif’s direction, Afghan refugees have got permission to live six months more in the country,” Afghan ambassador to Islamabad Omar Zakhilwal said Wednesday.

He said that the new decision would provide opportunity for Kabul, Islamabad and the UNHCR to find concrete solution.

The decision was taken while the Afghan refugees are asked to leave by June 30.

Zakhilwal has discussed harassment of Afghan refugees by Pakistani police in separate meeting with Pakistan Finance Minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar and Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz.

Afghan ambassador to Pakistan and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman on Tuesday called for ending tensions and removing mistrust between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Zakhilwal in meeting with Imran Khan conveyed Kabul’s concerns over alleged harassment of Afghan refugees in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, where the PTI is in power.

“We agreed that tensions and mistrust is not in the interests of either side,” Zakhilwal said after the meeting. “It was hoped that the recent meeting between the presidents of Pakistan and Afghanistan in Tashkent will have positive results for bilateral relations as the meeting was aimed at lowering tensions and enhancing trust.”

Zakhilwal said he raised the issue of “harassment of Afghan refugees in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa” by the police and stressed that they should not be made a scapegoat.

He demanded that the PTI chief direct his party’s government in K-P to show respect for Afghan refugees. Imran promised that he would talk to the chief minister and the police chief and ask them to stop harassment of the refugees.

Afghan people were harassed by Pakistan police in the wake of the border tension. According to reports, over 2,000 Afghan refugees were arrested in Pakistan recently. -AT

THE PASHTUN TIMES

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