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Pakistan extends Afghan refugees stay till year end

Pakistan extends Afghan refugees stay till year end

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Feb 08, 2017 - 01:19

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Pakistaninfo-icon on Tuesday decided to extend legal stay right of Afghan nationals in the country from March 31 to the end of this year.

The decision came at a federal cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad, State Minister for Information and Broadcasting Maryim Orangzeb told a media briefing after the cabinet meeting.

She said the cabinet decided to push back the deadline of March 31 for Afghan refugees to leave the country till the end of 2017.

She said the Ministry of Interior was directed to complete documentation of the Afghan nationals as soon as possible.

Under the policy, Afghans would be barred from entering Pakistan without valid visa and the Afghans cross-border movement would now be regulated through the visa regime and their entry passes would be linked with it.

There are currently about 1.3 million registered Afghan refugees resident in Pakistan, according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). There are also about a million unregistered Afghan refugees present in the country.

A recent crackdown by Pakistani authorities, citing security concerns, has seen a sharp rise in both deportations and voluntary repatriations of Afghan nationals from the country.

Last year, more than 600,000 Afghan refugees left Pakistan to return to their home countries, data from the UNHCR and the International Organization for Migrationinfo-icon (IOM) shows.

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