ISLAMABAD - Pakistan is hosting almost 1.6 million registered Afghan refugees and is still the largest protracted refugee population globally, said an official of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Talking to APP, he said since 2002, the UNHCR has facilitated the return of 3.8 million registered Afghans from Pakistan.

He said that the efforts to address the needs of Afghan refugees and their host communities, and to advance durable solutions, are undertaken within the framework of the regional Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR), the tripartite agreement on voluntary repatriation, and the Government of Pakistan’s national policy on Afghan refugees .

To complement the UNHCR and partners’ international support, the government of Pakistan has extended Afghan refugees’ Proof of Registration (PoR) cards until the end of 2015, issued birth certificates for 800,000 Afghan refugee children, provided land for several refugee villages, and given refugees access to public schools and health clinics, he said.

12th phase of SWA IDPs’

repatriation begins

The 12th phase of repatriation of South Waziristan Agency’s internally displaced persons (IDPs) began here on Monday in Sararogha, Sarwakai and Tiarza Tehsils of South Waziristan Agency. Around 400, 000 people had left their native areas to take shelter in safe areas including Tank, D I Khan and Bannu after a military operation was initiated against the anti-state elements in the Agency area. According to correspondent, more than 16700 families have so far repatriated to their native areas. Each returning family would be provided rupees 10,000 in cash, edible and other daily use items besides, rupees 25,000 ATM facility.