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Pakistan plans to revoke Afghans’ refugee status could displace 3 million

Posted by The Agonist on July 20th, 2012

From our partners at The Agonist

Saeed Shah | Islamabad | July 20

The GuardianAfghanistan faces further crisis as world’s biggest cluster of refugees faces expulsion

Pakistan plans to cancel refugee status for all Afghans living in the country at the end of this year, leaving some 3 million displaced people – the world’s biggest cluster of refugees – facing possible expulsion to a country that many barely know.

Pushing the refugees into Afghanistan would be likely to create a new crisis for that country, already struggling with an insurgency and an economy almost entirely dependent on the western presence and the illicit drug trade.

The west is pressing Pakistan to reconsider its policy, which puts it at odds with the United Nations and other international partners. The international community and the Afghan government have no strategy prepared to deal with any such influx of people.

However, Pakistan’s top administrator in charge of the Afghan refugee issue, Habibullah Khan, secretary of the ministry of states and frontier regions, told the Guardian that Islamabad would not relent. “The international community desires us to review this policy but we are clear on this point. The refugees have become a threat to law and order, security, demography, economy and local culture. Enough is enough,” he said.

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