Afghan refugees' stay in Pakistan extended by 16 months

Source: Xinhua| 2019-06-28 23:06:49|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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ISLAMABAD, June 28 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan on Friday extended the stay of the Afghan refugees living in the country by 16 months, Pakistan's Ministry of States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) said.

The Afghan refugees' stay in Pakistan was set to expire on June 30, 2019 but now their stay has been extended till October 2020, the ministry said.

The notice was issued during Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's ongoing two-day state visit to Pakistan.

According to local media reports, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan also informed Ghani about the stay extension for the Afghan refugees who have been living in Pakistan for the last four decades.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Pakistan is now hosting over 1.4 million Afghan refugees whereas over four million have been repatriated to their native lands voluntarily from 2002 till June this year.

On June 18, during the 30th Tripartite Commission Meeting hosted by the UNHCR in Islamabad, Pakistani Minister of SAFRON Shehryar Khan Afridi expressed his country's resolve to uphold the principle of voluntary repatriation in safety and dignity.

During the meeting, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the UNHCR also agreed to launch an awareness program to enable Afghan refugees to make a decision to voluntarily return to their motherland, with the facilitation and coordination from Pakistan.