Pakistan over the last year, has tried to adopt a strict policy towards the repatriation of Afghan refugees, after years of support and dwindling funds. However, this year the process has slowed down, with extensions being given by the government and some changes in visa policies. Not to mention the fact that no Afghan wants to really go back to their homeland.

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Some 32,000 registered refugees have returned from Pakistan since April 3, when repatriations for the year began following the winter according to the UN. A record 370,000 Afghans left Pakistan last year, many of whom were second or even third generation migrants, surging from 55,000 the year before. This exodus was compounded by a hardening of Pakistani attitudes towards Afghans, but with an improving environment, and the Afghan failing to uphold pledges of assistance towards returnees, the rate of return has slowed.

Refugees living in Pakistan acknowledge the government’s effort to include them into the network, and the Afghan government’s failure to accommodate them after their arrival back home. In such circumstances, Afghanistan should first focus on handling the security situation, and then move towards improving its relationship with the neighbours.

Thousands of Afghans left their countries during the Soviet invasion in 1980s to take refuge in the neighbouring country. However, despite standing by the Afghans at that time, the government still fails to acknowledge everything that Pakistan has done for them. There is a penchant to hark back to history and blame Pakistan, but neither was the Soviet invasion invited by Pakistan, nor was there any choice to upset the US at the time, and not fight a war for the liberation of Afghanistan. We have both suffered from terrorism in the aftermath, but there is no grand conspiracy against our Afghan brothers. There is some degree of fatigue after 37 continuous years of hosting one of the largest refugee populations in the world; it is time Pakistan is given some credit for its efforts.