February 7, 2017 7:38:07 pm
Pakistan Tuesday allowed its 1.5 million verified Afghan refugees to stay in the country till the end of 2017, extending the deadline from March 31.
The decision was taken by the Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, which approved the repatriation and management policy for refugees. Information minister Maryam Aurangzeb told media after the meeting that it was decided that no one would be allowed to enter Pakistan from Afghanistan without a valid visa.
“The cabinet also decided to extend the stay of registered Afghan refugees till December 31, 2017. The interior ministry has been directed to expedite the process of registering refugees, which is already underway,” she said.
Earlier, government had set March 31 as the final date for repatriation of all refugees from Afghanistan, most of the living for more than three decades. According to officials, there are about 1.5 million registered refuges in Pakistan whereas an equal number of unregistered refuges are also living illegally.
According to UNHCR sources, more than 700,000 Afghan returned in 2016.
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