What's new

Pakistan may emulate Iran over refugee influx

Jul 7, 2014
1,714
0
2,252
Country
Pakistan
Location
Pakistan
• High-level team to visit Tehran, study Iranian model
• Minister rules out opening of border with Afghanistan
• Officials fear fresh influx can boost sectarian outfits

ISLAMABAD: As the withdrawal of American and Nato troops from Afghanistan enters its final phase and the Taliban make more territorial gains, an influx of refugees into Pakistan seems inevitable. But this time around, Islamabad appears not in favour of opening its border, and instead is ready to look into the ‘Iranian model’ if the situation demands.

“We have decided not to open our border for refugees; the aid agencies can help the needy on the other side too,” Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told Dawn.


“But, if the situation deteriorates, we will establish settlements along the border with strict control and monitoring, prohibiting the entry of refugees into the mainland,” he went on to say.

The government would even follow the Iranian model to contain refugees in these camps and manage them effectively,” he added.

According to a report of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), there were around 800,000 Afghan refugees in Iran, but they were all living in refugee villages set up by Tehran along the border areas with Afghanistan in the 1980s and prevented from settling in cities and towns.

A senior government official, on the other hand, confirmed that Prime Minister Imran Khan had raised the issue during his telephonic conversation with the Iranian president-elect Ebrahim Raisi on Sunday evening.

PM Khan, while congratulating Mr Raisi on his victory in the recently-held elections, expressed concern over the worsening security situation in Afghanistan, saying its repercussion could be felt both in Pakistan and Iran.

“During their discussion on Afghanistan, both sides agreed to work on the Iranian model,” the official said, adding that, “it has been decided that a high-level team comprising officials from the interior ministry, security establishment and other relevant departments would visit Iran soon to understand the successful implementation of the model.”

At present there are two key border crossings between Pakistan and Afghanistan — Chaman in Balochistan and Torkham in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa — besides several small trading points. Most of the border with Afghanistan has been fenced, making illegal movement difficult.

On the other hand, Chief Commissioner for Afghan Refugees Saleem Khan said currently the situation on the border was not alarming, but if it deteriorated, international organisations and donor agencies would inform Islamabad.

Mr Khan said though Pakistan was not a signatory to the UN Convention of Refugees 1951 and the 1967 Refugee Protocol, the country still had been a responsible neighbour and hosted over three million Afghan refugees for more than four decades.

“Besides, it is a laudable achievement that there has been no tension between locals and Afghan refugees in Pakistan; all refugees are treated equally in government hospitals and education institutions in Pakistan,” the chief commissioner said.

“There are even international cricket players in Afghanistan who learnt the game in various Pakistani sports academies and centres,” he added.

Saleem Khan was of the opinion that a comprehensive policy needed to be devised after taking all stakeholders, including provinces, into confidence.

Talking to Dawn, officials from various provinces and even Gilgit-Baltistan showed their concern over the arrival of Afghans in their areas, but declined to be named.

“Our most serious fear is that the Afghans might add to the strength of sectarian terrorists, who had been subdued by the army,” an elected representative in the Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly said.

Similar views were expressed by a cabinet member in the Sindh government, who said most refugees would arrive in Karachi, but the city’s civic amenities were already overstretched, with many areas facing law and order problems.

On the other hand, a senior government official said though Pakistan was worried about the humanitarian issues confronting the region, including Afghanistan, there were several other factors that need to be considered.

“We have to keep note of our economic and political situation, social aspects and security problems before taking any decision,” the official said, adding that the decision to allow entry of Afghan nationals fleeing the fighting cannot be seen in isolation.

On the other hand, sources in the security establishment said there were other concerns too in the current scenario.

“Opening of the border could facilitate movement of Pakistanis wanting to support the Taliban either as fighters or in logistics, a security official said.

He cited the example of how even women from Pakistan tried to travel to territories controlled by the militant Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.

“This leads to the spread of violent religious extremism in the country,” the official said, adding that the security establishment could also not ignore the fact that a large number of Afghans who arrive would be jobless and might get involved in the politics of ultranationalists in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, like the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM).

Meanwhile, UNHCR Pakistan spokesperson Qaiser Khan Afridi said the agency was in the country to support the government in case of an influx of Afghans.

He said the UNHCR was “observing the situation closely in the region and hoped that peace and stability will be fully achieved in Afghanistan through dialogue”.

Mr Khan said: “A political solution should be favoured instead of conflict, but the risk of further displacement exists and we need to be prepared.”

There are around three million Afghan nationals living in Pakistan, out of which 1.4 million are holders of the proof of registration card (PR Card), followed by about 850,000 who have Afghan citizen cards while up to half a million were unregistered persons mostly living in remote areas, doing menial jobs or were nomads or herders.



Published in Dawn, July 6th, 2021
 

hussain0216

ELITE MEMBER
May 29, 2012
16,871
-21
23,861
Country
Pakistan
Location
United Kingdom
The Afghani have simply proved to be a untrustworthy people

Many Pakistani would be willing to host refugees in a time of need but the afghan behavior, the lar aur bar crap, the disrespect for the country, it's utter namak harami that simply cannot be tolerated




Follow the Iranian model or refuse entry

make them a SafeZone, protected by Pakistani military on the AFGHAN side of the border
a buffer zone similar to what Turkey has done in Syria



A Also ensure Afghani already in Pakistan are sent to the camps and not allowed act like citizens with rights

because refugees are not allowed to hold jobs or buy houses etc a I bet you some of the biggest Afghani namak harams will be living in and off Pakistan but barking us day and night
 

Shabi1

FULL MEMBER
Apr 17, 2006
1,898
6
2,809
Country
Pakistan
Location
Pakistan
Because of COVID concerns which are very genuine they should not be allowed to leave border camps and absolutely not get the opportunity to settle. I hope the corrections being done to NADRA will prevent them from getting fake identification credentials this time.

In fact anyone coming from abroad should be 14 days quarantined because of the new variants which so far haven't entered Pakistan.
 

alibaz

SENIOR MEMBER
Nov 26, 2007
4,194
0
2,751
Country
Pakistan
Location
Pakistan
Yes establishing refugee camps within Afghan border is only option no more influx of refugees, we already have enough of it. I would suggest to transport illegal Afghans in Pakistan into these camps. Only people with Old Refugee status may be retained.
 

Kambojaric

MODERATOR
Apr 6, 2010
5,192
15
8,865
Country
Pakistan
Location
Sweden
Good, the Iranians dealt with this issue far better than us. Letting millions of refugees into your country without any checks and balances is a recipe for disaster. The Turkish model is also worth looking at. They have partially dealt with the Syrian refugee crises by establishing a zone within Syrian territory and along the border under de facto Turkish military control. We could similarly establish some areas along our border within Afghanistan as refugee camps and help the refugees whilst they are within their own country.
 
Apr 22, 2019
4,520
-29
6,936
Country
Pakistan
Location
United Kingdom
Yes, why can't they create refugee camps on the Afghan side of the border?

It's better Pakistan sends in its military forces to protect the refugees camps there than allowing forced migration into Pakistan. Once the situation improves, the regugee camps can be handed over to a new trustworthy Afghan Government.
 

Menace2Society

SENIOR MEMBER
May 2, 2011
7,161
1
10,770
Country
Pakistan
Location
United Kingdom
Put 200k troops on the afghan border and shift tactical nukes to eastern border at point them at delhi if they make a move.
 

Hack-Hook

ELITE MEMBER
Jan 11, 2012
12,717
3
12,961
Country
Iran, Islamic Republic Of
Location
Iran, Islamic Republic Of
According to a report of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), there were around 800,000 Afghan refugees in Iran, but they were all living in refugee villages set up by Tehran along the border areas with Afghanistan in the 1980s and prevented from settling in cities and towns.
can they point to these villages ?
afghans are living inside Iranian cities not in camps
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Total: 1, Members: 0, Guests: 1)


Top Bottom