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Afghan elders demand feasible repatriation plan

PESHAWAR: Elders and representatives of Afghan refugees in Pakistan on Friday appealed for extension in their legal documents for stay in Pakistan till proper arrangements in Afghanistan.
Addressing a news conference at the Peshawar Press Club, the Afghan elders also called upon Pakistan, Afghanistan and UNHCR to evolve a joint, feasible and acceptable plan for the repatriation of Afghan nationals.
They said the Afghan government had failed to establish complete peace in the war-torn country and there was armed resistance in parts of Afghanistan against the present government.The elders said that after three-day consultations, they constituted a 10-member committee for meeting and contacting high ranking officials, leaders and officeholders from different religious and political parties.
Besides others, Habibur Rahman Hekmatyar, son of former Afghan prime minister Gulbudin Hekmatyar, Hayatullah Khan, Akhtar Mohammad Sharafat, Arsala Khan Kharooti, Rahmat Khan, Mahmood Shah, Mohammad Saeed Hashmi. Dr Ghairat Baheer, a leader of Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan, dozens of Afghan refugees and nationals were also present on the occasion.
Arsala Kharooti read out a single page declaration adopted by elders of Afghan nationals in their three days consultation concluded on Wednesday. He said that in a bid to divert attention of Pakistan, Afghanistan and UNHCR towards their genuine hardships, they decided to make “en block appeals” after Friday prayer throughout the refugee camps and areas where Afghans are living in majority.
Similarly, the elders have made a plan for holding meetings with high ups and leaders at different levels to convince them for reviewing the forced repatriation and expulsion.In the very outset of declaration, the Afghan elders have appreciated Pakistan and its people for extending hospitality to Afghans.
“Pakistan made too much investment in earning hearts of Afghanistan; therefore, it should be utilised, which is possible with repatriation of Afghan to their motherland with honour and dignity,” remarked Sharafat.
“We are well aware of Pakistan and its people’s compulsions but situation for living and rehabilitation in Afghanistan is not conducive at the moment,” he added.Habibur Rahman said that Afghans have been forced to abandon homes when foreign troops invaded their motherland. “There is still unrest in Afghanistan, therefore, Pakistan needs to remain patient for some time,” he added.
He added that the Afghan government had not yet made any arrangements for rehabilitation of the countrymen being repatriated from Pakistan. In this connection, he suggested three main stakeholders, Pakistan, Afghanistan and UNHCR, to jointly evolve a strategy in this connection.
Regarding appeal day, the Afghan elders made it clear that would make appeals through mosques after Friday prayers. Mahmood Shah said that with en-mass repatriation, Afghans could enter into land and property disputes at this crucial stage.
In response to a question, Arsala Kharooti dispelled the impression of involvement of Afghans in terrorism and said: “Afghans remained very peaceful and loyal to law of the land during their prolonged stay in Pakistan.” However, he said that a few individuals have indulged in inhuman, immoral and unethical acts but they are being condemned by Afghans too.



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