Pakistan’s Good Will towards Release of Afghan Refugees

Pakistan belongs to various ethnic groups including Afghan refugees comprises 1.35 million registered out of 3 million in total as per UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) data. It has been hosting the Afghan refugees since four decades keeping in view the international specified standards. Pakistan has given the settled Afghans a level playing field. They enjoy freedom to education, health, private employment and security. Besides these opportunities, many of the Afghans get quality treatment at the renowned hospitals of Pakistan such as North West General Hospital (NWGH).

Soon after the US withdrawal, Pakistan experienced a surge of refugees. Thus, there are many undocumented Afghans who are living illegal. Many of them were detained owing to lack of documents. However, as a gesture of good will towards Afghanistan, Pakistan released 40 of the imprisoned Afghan on 7th February 2023 who were jailed in Sindh including 5 families. Keeping good relations in view with the new government in Afghanistan, Pakistan has been in a constant effort with the Afghan authorities to release the imprisoned Afghans.

Moreover, Pakistan has released 524 afghan prisoners in the start of January, this year. It also foresees the release of 160 Afghans behind the Pakistani bars in the coming days. As a matter of law, the Afghans ought to have legal documents. However, still there are many Afghan nationals rooming at large without any harsh treatment.

On the other hand, the Afghan nationals are not treated with dignity in other parts of world. Recently, India prohibited to give visas to 2500 Afghan students admitted in the Indian universities. The education of these students are at stake as students are unable to return to India and resume their education. The students staged protest and raised slogans labeled as ‘Education= Life, Don’t kill us’, and ‘India we want visa’ etc.  Moreover, India also closed down its embassy in Afghanistan as soon as Afghanistan was seized by the Taliban. In short, India failed to provide a level playing field to Afghan students including males and females.

Over and above, Afghan nationals have been also facing unlimited challenges seeking asylum in the US, followed by UK and Canada since Afghanistan crisis. These countries do not bode well for the Afghan families, students and workers. The queries of the asylum seekers are left unanswered by the aforementioned countries which is equivalent to non-accommodating practices. Moreover, many of the asylum seekers have been dispersed to many other countries leaving them in panic and chaos.  

When it comes to Pakistan, it has always extended help to Afghan nationals irrespective of resource constraints. Hence, the US-Taliban peace accord is self-explanatory of the Pakistan’s good faith towards Afghanistan. This act of Pakistan was praised internationally and acknowledge by many countries. Furthermore, Pakistan has not left Afghanistan’s citizens in the lurch. It has been continuously reiterating on international platforms and media for the rights of the Afghan citizens.

After the US-withdrawal, Pakistan also called upon the international world to extend financial and humanitarian help to avoid not only civil war but also humanitarian crisis. For this purpose, Pakistan dispatched financial aid including 41 wheat laden trucks to Kabul. Nevertheless, security of Afghanistan is of utmost importance for all the adjacent bordered countries as well as international peace. The Islamabad think tank also stressed the influential countries such as China, Iran, and Turkey to deter Afghan quagmire and help the war torn country by keeping humanitarian aspect above everything.

To sum up, Pakistan has been always a great help to Afghanistan. Times and again, Pakistan has exhibited soft image to the people of Kabul. Peace in Afghanistan has been top most priority for Islamabad. Keeping all the aspects of good-will, Pakistan is hopeful to maintain consolidated relations with the new government of Afghanistan.

Jehangir Khan Mehsud
Jehangir Khan Mehsud
Jehangir Khan Mehsud,Graduate of economics and political science from Forman Christian College University Lahore.