By Tahir Khan
June 17, 2019
Pakistan will host a four-party meeting in Islamabad today (Monday) on a roadmap for the repatriation of millions of Afghan refugees from Pakistan and Iran, officials say.
Afghan and Iranian ministers arrived in Pakistan for the quadripartite meeting, they said on Sunday.
Representatives of the UN refugee agency will also participate in the daylong meeting, officials from Pakistan’s Ministry of States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) said. SAFRON Ministry also looks after the issues related to Afghan refugees.
Afghan Minister for Refugees and Repatriation Syed Hussain Alemi Balkhi and Iran Deputy Minister for Interior Hossein Zolfaghari held separate meetings with SAFRON Minister Shehryar Khan Afridi in Islamabad on Sunday after they arrived in Islamabad and discussed matters relating to the quadripartite meeting, a spokesman for the ministry said.
Indrika Ratwatte, director of the Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, UNHCR Geneva, Switzerland, has also been invited to the meeting.
The official said the 6th Steering Committee Meeting will discuss the progress in implementing the solution strategy for Afghan refugees.
Pakistan still hosts around 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees, according to a spokesman of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Registered refugees have Proof of Registration (PoR) cards that allow them to legally stay in Pakistan. Last year in September, the Pakistani government extended stay of the refugees until June 30, 2019.
Besides the registered refugees, Pakistan has nearly 880,000 Afghan refugees who were documented in 2018 but they do not have PoR cards.
The UNHCR says a total of 1,700 registered Afghan refugees have been voluntarily repatriated through UNHCR assistance this year so far. The repatriation started in March after the winter break.
The Daily Times