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Afghan refugees to get temporary documents

01 June, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Afghanistan have agreed on developing a mechanism to address the issue of Afghan refugees and illegal immigrants as Afghan Minister for Refugees and Rehabilitation Dr Jamaher Anwari left for Kabul on Thursday after conclusion of his three-day visit.

"The two sides agreed on several issues pertaining to the Afghan refugees," Zardasht Shams, press attaché at Afghan Embassy to Pakistan, told our sources.

On illegal immigrants or Afghan people living in Pakistan, the two sides agreed that for them International Organisation for Migration (IOM) would issue temporary documents, official sources said.

"This arrangement would at least address concern of the security of Pakistani side and would also provide some relaxations for the Afghans illegally living in Pakistan," he said.

The Afghan delegation held meetings with the Federal Minster of States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) Shaukatullah Khan as well as with the officials of the UNHCR and IOM.

Sources in Afghan Embassy confirmed that a large number of Afghan refugees, who did not possess documents, and that was Islamabad's main concern besides slow pace of repatriation of over 1.7 million Afghans with legal status of refugees.

Statistics of the illegal immigrants is not certain but according to Pakistani officials the illegal Afghan residents in Pakistan are about a million but according to some reports their number is about 700,000.

The Afghan side was insisting on returning of the refugees at the end of 2012, but not by force.

End.

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