Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday granted an extension in the stay of registered Afghan refugees residing in Pakistan by the end of 2016.
“Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of States and Frontier Regions shall immediately engage with UNHCR and government of Afghanistan for gradual relocation of refugee camps in Pakistan to Afghanistan,” a spokesman for Nawaz Sharif said.
He said that Sharif issued the directive after seeing the “Repatriation and Management Policy for Afghan Refugees”.
The validity period of the ‘Proof of Registration’ cards – that allow Afghan refugees to stay in Pakistan – was to expire on June 30, 2016.
But now, the registered Afghan refugees can legally stay in Pakistan till December 31, 2016.
Nearly 6,000 Afghans have chosen to return home from Pakistan in 2016, well below last year’s figure of 58,211, the United Nations’ refugee agency has said.
This comes after, Pakistani police force detained over 2,000 unregistered Afghan refugees in Peshawar on Tuesday.
Pakistani officials said they set June 30 as a deadline for Afghan immigrants to get themselves registered in Pakistan.
The local police said that at least 400 Afghan settlers have been deported to Afghanistan.
Pakistan, which neighbors Afghanistan, hosts about 1.5 million registered and about one million undocumented Afghans refugees.