Pakistan extended two months deadline for Afghan refugees’ repatriation

TO GO WITH Afghanistan-unrest-Pakistan-refugees,FOCUS by Joris Fioriti (FILES) In this photograph taken on June 19, 2012, Afghan refugees sit in front of trucks at The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) registration centre on the outskirts of Peshawar. Hundreds of thousands of Afghans face the threat of deportation back to their war-torn country from Pakistan once a deadline expires June 30, 2012, but Kabul is crying foul over the move. Pakistan is home to 1.7 million refugees and hundreds of thousands more unregistered migrants from its neighbour, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).AFP PHOTO/A. MAJEED/FILES

Vastavam web: Pakistan has extended by two months the deadline for repatriation of Afghan refugees, giving a temporary relief to them amid a spike in violence in Afghanistan.About 3 million Afghans have been living in Pakistan for decades. Nearly half of them are unregistered and staying in the country illegally.”The cabinet approved grant of 60 days extension in the Proof of Registration (PoR) cards for Afghan refugees,” said the statement.

The validity of legal refugee status for many Afghan refugees expired on January 31. This threw into doubt the future of these refugees.The Pakistani government says the country’s economy “has carried the burden of hosting Afghan refugees since long and in the present circumstances cannot sustain it further.” The 60-day extension came as Afghan Interior Minister Wais Ahmad Barmak and National Directorate of Security chief Mohamed Masoom Stanekzai visited Pakistan to discuss bilateral ties.On Sunday, at least 103 people were killed in a suicide attack in the heart of the capital Kabul.A day later, at least 11 soldiers were killed when gunmen attacked a military academy, also in Kabul.