ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday granted an extension in the stay of registered Afghan refugees residing in Pakistan for a further period of six months — till December 31, 2016.
“Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of States & Frontier Regions shall immediately engage with UNHCR and Government of Afghanistan for gradual relocation of refugee camps in Pakistan to Afghanistan,” spokesperson for the prime minister said.
The prime minister issued the directive after seeing the ‘Repatriation and Management Policy for Afghan Refugees’, said PM Office media.
It is to mention that the validity period of the ‘Proof of Registration’ cards — that allow Afghan refugees to stay in Pakistan — was to expire on June 30, 2016.
But now, following the approval by the prime minster, the registered Afghan refugees can legally stay in Pakistan till December 31, 2016.
The PM’s spokesperson further said that in order to facilitate relocation and as a gesture of continued goodwill, Pakistan shall commit provision of free of cost wheat for the relocated camps in Afghanistan for a period of three years.
“Quantum of wheat shall be determined by a certified number of refugees returning from camps in Pakistan and authorised daily entitlement according to the standards of Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO),” the spokesman said.
It should be noted that this extension in stay is given only to those Afghans who are ‘Proof of Registration’ card holders and legally reside in Pakistan.