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Issues of Returnees in Limbo

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More than three-decades of bloodshed in the country has destroyed public properties and damaged the whole infrastructure which has to be rebuilt but would take several years. In the years of violence the big loss was definitely the departure of Afghans from homeland in order to save their skins as well as their dear ones.

The conflicts had compelled millions of Afghans to leave their ancestral lands and live life of refugee in foreign lands, mostly in Iran and Pakistan.  They are such unfortunate that even some of them returned from the neighboring countries but were facing several problems while those who preferred not to return and stay for a while are harassed on daily basis by police and other officials.

According to unofficial reports, Afghan refugees living in Pakistan still do not want to return due to sky-rocketing price hike, unemployment, poor health and education facilities as well as uncertain law and order situation.  Reports also suggest that those who returned to Afghanistan have witnessed no positive changes but were looking the overall situation as dark as night, as most of the returnees are living in tents in urban areas or in rusted government owned buildings. Their children still go barefoot outside in search of recyclable items, to fetch them from the garbage and trash containers so they could sell them and feed their family members. Children who want to study are unable to understand the teaching medium and textbooks, because they studied in English and Urdu medium schools in Pakistan.

It is out of reach for many returnees to go for medical checkup or treatment to private hospitals as the fees are much higher from the place where they lived (Pakistan), while government hospitals lack trained staff and modern equipments to cure patients. Similarly, the proposed schemes to build homes for Afghan refugees are also in doldrums.

To cope with issue is difficult task but needs only determination and rational steps from the government’s side. The government should take all possible steps to ensure safety of public lives and properties across the county.  Authorities should speed up the process to build townships for the returnees as soon as possible, and should provide all facilities to the returnees at their doorsteps including health and education.  Special schools should be built there to provide education to the children of the land in the language which they can understand easily. They also reserve the right to study, and the fact is that they know the teaching mediums which were taught to them in Pakistan. So, providing to them education in English language or other medium has no harm.

Apart from that, the government should encourage Afghan refugees to come back, as even a well-off life but in refuge is worse than a modest one at home. Besides that when Afghans are not doing government jobs in Pakistan or in other country then why they are blaming unemployment at their own native land, but the matter is something else which the government should address. It is for sure that media misrepresenting facts.

It would be better to urge Afghan refugees for return to their homeland through the embassy and consulates in Pakistan, by tell them about the facilities that the government planned to provide. Moreover, the consulates should fuel their nationalism and shall tell them that the country needs them.

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