Syed Hussain Alimi Balkhi, the Minister of Refugees and Repatriation, informed regarding the latest developments regarding the repatriation of the Afghan refugees by appearing in a gathering in Kabul today.
He said the year 2016 witnessed a massive return of the refugees, mainly from the neighboring countries.
Minister Balkhi further added that the year 2016 was historical in past one and half decades, apart from 2002 when around 1.5 million refugees returned to Afghanistan.
According to Minister Balkhi, more than 1 million refugees returned to Afghanistan during the year and over 900,000 of them repatriated voluntarily.
The majority of the refugees have returned from Pakistan after becoming a victim of the security and political upheavals, specifically after they were forced to return following a deadly attack on Peshwar school and the recent incursions along the Durand Line.
The United Nations refugee chief urged Pakistanis asked the Pakistani authorities late in June last year not to blame Afghan refugees for terrorism in their country.
The call by UN High Commissioner for Refugees Fillippo Grandi followed amid growing public calls for their deportation and worsening relations between the two neighbours.
Warning that the roughly 2.5 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan risked becoming a “forgotten” crisis, Grandi called on the international community to invest more funds to help them.
“My appeal is that, not only to the authorities but also to the local population: refugees as you know are not terrorists,” Grandi said during a visit to a repatriation centre outside the northwestern Pakistan city of Peshawar. -KP
THE PASHTUN TIMES