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Afghans want extension in their stay

Bureau Report 2017-03-15
PESHAWAR: The Afghan refugees have demanded extension in their stay in Pakistan and suggested formation of a joint committee to sort out bilateral issues between the two countries.

Addressing a news conference at Peshawar Press Club on Tuesday, United Afghan Supreme Council chairman Baryal Miankhel said that Pakistan and Afghanistan had brotherly relations on the basis of belief, culture and traditions. He said that both the countries needed to show maturity and set good examples of bilateral relations so that next generation could follow them.

Flanked by other members of the council including Haji Dost Mohammad, Rahmat Samim, Mohammad Noor Ahmadzai, Shinwari Nasrullah Betab, Haji Said Agha and Malik Ghulam Sakhi, Mr Miankhel appreciated Pakistan for accommodatingmillions of Afghans for several decades. He said that the current tension between Pakistan and Afghanistan was result of a conspiracy, hatched by someone else.

Mr Miankhel said that Pakistan, Afghanistan and UNHCR had once agreed to register all Afghans but the process was yet to be initiated. He said that everyone wanted to return home but they had some serious problems and needed support of the stakeholders.

`If Afghans are given extension in stay, our children will be able to complete their education and make arrangements for residences in their homeland. We offer our services as jirga to help reduce tension and restore relations between the two countries,` said the chairman of the council, a body of Afghans living in various refugee camps in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

He said that borders should be reopened forthwith so that the people, especially patients, students and traders, could reach their destinations without further delay.

Mr Miankhel said that around 5,000 daily wagers on both sides of the border were rendered jobless owing closure of border crossing at Torkham.

Their families were facing serious financial crisis, he said and urged both the countries to take serious steps for resolution ofissues so that the third party could not exploit the situation.

Speaking on the occasion, Haji Dost Mohammad said that federal government was forcing them to leave Pakistan and that`s why Wapda had increased power tariff up to Rs20 per unit for them.

He said Afghans had appealed to Federal Ombudsman, Peshawar High Court and Supreme Court of Pakistan against increase in power tariff. He said that verdicts were issued in their favour but even then they were forced to pay inflated power bills.

Dost Mohammad said that Punjab government launched crackdown on Afghan refugees and many of them were still behind bars. `Police have taken away their cars and declared them illegal foreigners to deport them. Our people are not released on sureties.Itis violation ofallthe relevant agreements,` he added.

The Afghan elder said that Pakistanis had always extended cooperation to them.

Mohammad Noor Ahmadzai and Rahmat Samim also spoke on the occasion and narrated ordeal of the people stranded on both sides of the border.

They said that at least 6,000 trucks loaded with different goods were parked on both sides of Torkham that caused millions ofrupees losses to the people.