U.N urges Pakistan to resolve Afghan refugees’ status
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2016-02-27 23:05:31

U.N urges Pakistan to resolve Afghan refugees’ status

l_101370_011200_updatesKALABAT: A senior U.N. official has urged Pakistan to resolve the status of more than 2.5 million Afghan refugees living in Pakistan whose registration cards have expired or who remain unregistered.

While Europe has grappled with the exodus of people from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, Pakistan hosts the world’s largest long-term refugee population, according to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), most of whom are Afghans who have fled more than three decades of war.

In December, registration cards providing temporary legal stay to more than 1.5 million Afghan refugees expired, and were granted a six-month extension by the government.

But Afghans say they are hassled by police for carrying the expired cards, and members of the estimated one million Afghans who are still unregistered also face difficulties with the authorities, aid workers say.

The issue is now before Pakistan’s cabinet.

UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner George Okoth-Obbo said his agency was engaged in “continuing discussions” with the Pakistani government to resolve the population’s uncertain situation.

“We await with a lot of interest the decision of the government on those questions,” Okoth-Obbo told Reuters during a Friday visit to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, home to a large Afghan population.

Many Afghans living in Pakistan have been living in the country for decades and contribute significantly to the country’s labor force.

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