Afghan Refugees Leave Pakistan Over Tougher Measures

Wednesday September 7, 2016

Kabul (BNA) Under the UNHCR program, refugees returning home get a special document permitting them to make the journey.
In June, Pakistan extended the Afghan refugees’ right to stay until December 2016, but restrictions and harassment have grown, say refugees and the UNHCR.  “The increase in the number of security operations against undocumented foreigners has also impacted refugees’ decision-making,” said UNHCR spokeswoman Duniya Aslam Khan. Police increasingly demand bribes from refugees, Miankhel said, even those with Proof of Registration cards showing a legal right to stay. “The police harass people, ask for money, and confiscate refugees’ cards unless they are paid bribes,” he added. Pakistani authorities deny harassing the Afghan refugees. Repatriations are on course this year to reach their highest level since 2008, with the UNHCR saying 103,013 refugees have returned to Afghanistan from Pakistan, 93 percent within the last two months. The surge coincided with a doubling of the UNHCR’s grant for returning refugees, to $400, Khan said. “There is increasing anxiety among the Afghan refugees regarding what will happen when Proof of Registration cards expire in December 2016,” said UN spokeswoman.

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