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Pakistan to close all refugee camps by 2009

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ISLAMABAD, July 30 (Pajhwok Afghan News): Pakistan has said that all refugees living in that country will be repatriated to Afghanistan by the end of 2009.

Speaking at a news conference in Quetta, Federal Minister for States and Frontier Region (SAFRON) Sardar Yar Muhammad Rind said that four camps of Afghan refugees in Balochistan and the NWFP would be closed by the set deadline.

He said the deadline for the camps closure had already been announced and all refugees would be sent to their country by December 30, 2009. “All the refugee camps would be closed by the end of 2009,” he said.

Regarding the closure of the Jungle Pir Alizai camp, where some local politicians are reportedly involved, the minister said the government was holding talks with leaders and elders of the area to work out ways for its peaceful closure.

“We do’t want to send them back by force because they have been our guests for 25 years,” Rind said, adding that the government wanted their honourable repatriation.

Replying to a question, he said the refugees who did not get registered had been declared illegal immigrants.

He said that there were 300,000 Afghan refugees in the country who did not possess ‘proof of registration’ while 205,000 had been repatriated since the completion of the registration process.

He said that the property and documents of illegal Afghan immigrants would be confiscated as being foreigner they have no right to buy property.

He said the government had asked the unregistered refugees to return to their country under the UNHCR voluntary repatriation programme.

He said that so far $15 million, including the $5 million share of the Pakistan government, had been spent in this regard.

To a question, the minister said 2.1 million Afghan refugees were living in the country and majority of them were settled in the NWFP.

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Written by afghandevnews

August 2, 2007 at 4:26 am

Posted in Refugees

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