800,000 unregistered Afghans registered under Afghan Citizen Card project

800,000 unregistered Afghans registered under Afghan Citizen Card project

ISLAMABAD:Around 800,000 (0.8 million) unregistered Afghan refugees have been documented under Afghan Citizen Card (ACC) project introduced after the approval of Federal Cabinet to give them identity.

These Afghans will be linked with government of Afghanistan and repatriated with assistance of International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Highlighting the steps taken by government for repatriation of Afghan Refugees from the country during last four years, sources at States and Frontier Regions Division on Tuesday said a comprehensive policy for Management and Repatriation of Afghan Refugees in Pakistan is also under consideration.

The sources said repatriation of registered Afghan Refugees is guided by principle of voluntarism and gradualism as embedded in Tripartite Agreement signed between governments of Pakistan, Afghanistan and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The sources said Federal Cabinet in its meeting held on January 03, 2018 extended legal stay of registered Afghan refugees holding Proof of Registration (PoR) cards and Tripartite Agreement upto January 31, 2018.

The Ministry of SAFRON also submitted summary for further extension in PoR Cards and Tripartite Agreement till June 30, 2018 which is under consideration of the Cabinet.

The sources said under this programme more than 4.3 million registered Afghan refugees have been repatriated to Afghanistan since 2002 which is marked as the largest voluntary repatriation programme in UNHCR's history.

The government of Pakistan encourages repatriation of Afghan nationals to their country of origin. Repatriation of Afghans is also considered as the most preferred option.

During last four years, maximum repatriation has been carried out in 2016 when repatriation grant for returnees was increased from US $ 200 to US $ 400 per returnee by UNHCR which was again decreased to US $ 200 in 2017.

The government of Pakistan has approached the traditional/non-traditional donors to provide funding to increase repatriation grant to US $ 400 so that maximum reparation may be carried out.

Similarly, Ministry of SAFRON is approaching government of Afghanistan to initiate developmental projects, especially for returnee Afghan Refugees from Pakistan.APP/AFP