Over 70,000 afghan refugees returned so far this year

ISLAMABAD: Over 70,000 Afghan refugees have returned to their homeland so far this year and the figure is expected to reach 125,000 by the year.

An official source told reporter here on Friday, he said that last year over 640,000 Afghan refugees have been repatriated under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)’s Voluntary Return Programme.

He said that the pace of Afghan refugees’ voluntarily return had affected due to reduction in stipend from $ 400 to $200 each refugee by UNHCR.

The decline in number of Afghan refugees repatriation is because of reduction in refugees’ stipend from $400 to $200, and the government of Pakistan will take up the issue with the UN agency, he said.

He was of the view that prevailing law and order situation as well as deteriorating economic conditions besides unemployment issue in Afghanistan were some of the main reasons behind affected pace of the refugees’ return.

He said four to five percent Afghan refugees living in Pakistan, out of the total, were doing business to earn livelihood, while the rest were facing financial issues being migrants here.

There was a relaxed visa policy for Afghan spouses of Pakistanis, Afghan students and skilled/talented workforce, he said.