Pakistan may impose new restrictions on Afghan refugees in what is described as a “tougher policy” that could be unveiled next month, a newspaper reported on Monday.
Islamabad has set the June 30 deadline for the repatriation of more three million refugees living in Pakistan since 1980s. Such deadlines have repeatedly been extended in the past, but further allowance is unlikely.
“We’ve decided to review our national policy 2016-17 for Afghan refugees. A tougher new policy is ahead with new border management laws,” The News International quoted a cabinet minister as saying.
Minister of States and Frontier Regions (Safron) Abdul Qadir Baloch told the daily Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif,in consultation with Chief of Army Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif, will finalise terms of the new policy next month.”
He hinted that as part of the fresh policy, the institutions concerned would be handed a road map for sending the Afghan refugees back to their homeland at all costs.
On the prime minister’s return from the UK, his government will give finishing touches to the new policy. “But we want to send them back with respect,” the minister said. At a series of meetings this month, all stakeholders agreed to review the existing policy.
Qadir said the tougher measures have been prompted by the situation resulting from the death of Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour in a US drone strike and tensions at the Torkham border.
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