Pakistan extends legal residency of Afghan refugees by another year

Pakistan extends legal residency of Afghan refugees by another year

Pakistan extends legal residency of Afghan refugees by another year

Pakistan extends legal residency of Afghan refugees by another yearTOPSHOT – Afghan refugees wait in a queue to cross the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in Torkham on October 27, 2023. Islamabad has given Afghans it has deemed to be living illegally in Pakistan until November 1 to leave voluntarily or face deportation — an order the Taliban government says amounts to harassment. The order comes as Pakistan grapples with a rise in attacks the government blames on militants operating from Afghanistan, a charge Kabul routinely denies. (Photo by Abdul MAJEED / AFP) (Photo by ABDUL MAJEED/AFP via Getty Images)

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has extended the legal residency of Afghan refugees in the country by another year, according to an official statement released after a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

The federal cabinet approved a one-year extension for Proof of Registration (POR) cards for 1.45 million Afghan refugees, whose cards expired last month. The extension is valid until June 30th next year.

This decision came a day after United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi met with top Pakistani officials, including Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, and praised Pakistan for pausing the “Illegal Foreigners Repatriation Plan.”

During his discussions, Grandi emphasized the importance of timely extending the POR cards, which serve as crucial identity documents for over 1.3 million Afghan refugees. He also sought assurance that the repatriation plan would remain suspended.

In the meeting, Prime Minister Shehbaz urged the international community to acknowledge Pakistan’s significant burden of hosting a large Afghan refugee population and to show collective responsibility.

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