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UNHCR hails Pakistan for hosting millions of Afghan refugees

UNHCR hails Pakistan for hosting millions of Afghan refugees
January 29, 2020
QUETTA (92 News) – United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Country Representative in Pakistan Ruvendrini Kenikdiwela hailed Pakistan for hosting millions of Afghan refugees. He stated during a meeting with Governor Balochistan Amanullah Yasinzai in Quetta. The matters pertaining to the Afghan refugees came under discussion in the meeting. On this occasion, Governor Balochistan said the ongoing UNHCR programmes including education and health would have positive impact on the people of the areas. The UNHCR Country Representative thanked Pakistani government for serving Afghan refugees for four decades. It is pertinent to mention here that Afghans in Pakistan (Afghan Muhajreen) primarily constitute refugees who have fled wars in Afghanistan, but there are small numbers of Afghan asylum seekers, migrant workers, merchants, businesspeople, exchange students and diplomats. Most were born and raised in Pakistan and are under age 30, but are still considered citizens of Afghanistan. They are under the protection of the UNHCR, and have been given legal status in Pakistan until the end of 2017. The first wave of Afghan refugees to Pakistan began during the Soviet–Afghan War in the late 1970s. By the end of 2001, there were over four million. Most have returned to Afghanistan since 2002. The UNHCR reported in February 2017 that about 1.3 million registered Afghan citizens still remained in Pakistan, distributed as follows: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (81 per cent); Punjab (10 per cent); Balochistan (seven per cent) and Sindh (one per cent).