Pakistan not setting up new camps for Afghan refugees: Interior Minister

Afghan families sit outside their tents in an open area on the outskirts of Chaman, a border town in the Pakistan's southwestern Baluchistan Province, Wednesday, Sept.1, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Pakistan is not setting up any new camp to accommodate Afghan refugees trying to flee the war-ravaged neighbouring country after the Taliban seized power in Kabul, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad has said.

Mr. Rasheed said there are no Afghan refugees at the border and the government has not established any camp in the area.

Mr. Rasheed's statement came on September 5, during his visit to the Torkham border, after reports that people were massing at the border and trying to enter Pakistan, which has already been hosting about three million Afghan refugees.

According to officials, about half of the refugees staying in Pakistan are illegal as they have not been registered in the country. Officially, about 1.5 million are registered and have documents to stay, carry out businesses and move across the border.

Since the unfolding of the current Afghan crisis, Pakistan has been saying that it will not accept any more refugees. But its ministers have been issuing contradictory statements about allowing Afghans to enter Pakistan.

While the Interior Minister has taken a tough line on the issue, Minister for Information, Fawad Chaudhary, said last week that the policy concerning women and children might be different. However, so far, no clarification has been issued.

Officially, it has also been stated that Pakistan had issued visas and travel documents to about 4,000 people in Afghanistan to enter Pakistan at the height of the evacuation crisis. It is said that most of them were given three-week transit visas to fly to various destinations in the West.

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Printable version | Oct 16, 2021 8:04:18 PM |

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