Millions of Afghan refugees living in Pakistan for decades have expressed reluctance to return to their homeland after they are faced with the threat of mass deportation back to their country by a December 31 deadline.
The UN High Commission for Refugees states that currently Pakistan is home to 1.7 million registered Afghan refugees plus an estimated over a million more unregistered migrants from Afghanistan.
These Afghan refugees are nervous about going back to their war-torn country, saying they have established their business in Pakistan and have now settled comfortably in here.
The family of Dost Muhammad migrated to Khyber Pakhunkhwa province in 1980 during the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and it took them three decades to settle here. He cannot claim he will do it all over again.
Pakistani officials say the repatriation of Afghan refugees would only be voluntary and the government would soon find a mutually beneficial way to return the refugees to their country.
Refugees who take part in the voluntary repatriation program are given $150 per person as transportation costs and initial costs of settling.
Many believe that hosting millions of Afghan refugees is a burden responsible for rising inflation in Pakistan. However, few know that their repatriation will have huge impact on the country’s economy.