NWFP Governor Lt. Gen
(Retd) Syed Iftikhar Hussain Shah has assured that registered refugees
would not be repatriated from Pakistan but those staying illegally would
be subjected to screening procedure. The screening procedure would started
from June 20 to determine status of those who came to Pakistan recently.
Migration of Afghan
Refugees According to a survey report, about 175,000 Afghans arrived in
Pakistan since September last year. Another survey report shows that 186
fresh arrivals have been reported at the Jalozai makeshift refugee camp
in the hope of assistance during the last one week time period. These
families have migrated from Jauzjan and Baghlan provinces of Afghanistan
after travelling and walking for more than a week to cross the Pak-Afghan
border after lots of difficulties.
Pakistan has provided all moral and material support to Afghans after the
Soviet invasion of Afghanistan till its liberation. Services made by
Pakistan were even recognized and praised by the whole Muslim Ummah, the
world community at large.
Pakistan has always
provided assistance to Afghanistan as a brotherly country.
the situation has been altered as the recent arrival of refugees had
economic and other reasons like drought in their country.
Pakistan itself is
facing severe economic crisis. Afghan war and the influx of Afghan
refugees into Pakistan has halted business activities in Pakistan which
has automatically resulted in unemployment in our country. Further, the
presence of illegal Afghans on our soil has increased the crime rate also.
Presence of illegal Afghans has made our people unhappy to a considerable
extent and our people are regularly complaining against illegal refugee
influx and their activities here in Pakistan.
Pakistan is well aware of the problems faced by the Afghans living in
Afghanistan but it does not mean that Afghans should migrate to Pakistan
to save themselves from their domestic problems. In fact, no other country
in the world would afford such a big number of illegal immigrants. It
would be better if the Afghans illegally settled in NWFP should
voluntarily go back to their country and start re-building their own
country. Nevertheless, Pakistan would be pleased to help such returnees as
they might take food and medicines from Pakistan besides construction
equipment to rebuild their country.
government can play a positive role in this regard by adopting flexible
attitude towards the people. For example, by giving more opportunities of
education to Afghani women and helping the common people out of their
Even the Pakistani
government and the Pakistani people can help the miserable Afghans by
raising up economic funds for them and by extending moral and educational
support to them
Ordinary Afghans are
weary, tired and scared. The present refugee crisis is adding to their
The phenomenon of
Afghan refugees is not new to Pakistan. The first event that occurred a
very small number of refugees between 1973 to 1978 were about 1,500 when
political exiles of Daud regime sought and received asylum in Pakistan.
Later, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan turned that trickle into a flood
of refugees. At present there are millions of registered and unregistered
refugees residing in Pakistan.
Causes of Migration.
The current influx of refugees has several important factors responsible
for it. A large portion of these refugees have fled because economic
opportunities have exhausted for them within their own country. Heavy
Pakhtun-Tajik fighting has made it extremely difficult for many to
continue earning their livelihood and has forced them to leave their
homes. Loss of employment has also been due to destruction of the
infrastructure, lack of competence on the part of the fundamentalist
regime of the Taliban. Many people employed by or sympathetic to the
former government have been judged as unsuitable and, therefore,
incompetent for jobs. Moreover, they are harassed to display an active
support to the Taliban, otherwise they stand to lose their jobs if they
refuse to do so.
have imposed ban on the use of internet facility in a bid to ward off
moral waywardness and block outflow of anti-government information to the
rest of the world. This order issued by the Islamic Emirate of
Afghanistan, Kandahar, covers all the UN agencies, NGOs and individuals
not to use the facility anymore in Kabul. The ban on the internet, a
facility only available in Kabul at the moment is difficult to prove
effective as they are yet to develop a mechanism to block the satellite
telephone systems available to the foreign NGOs and the UN agencies
working inside Afghanistan.
Taliban allowed the
Hindus to carry a special identity card to avoid embarrassment at the
hands of the religious police forcing Muslims to attend mosques during
prayer times. Education facilities are already non-existent in Afghanistan
since the fall of the communist regime while Taliban imposed ban on women
education and banning them from working at offices and other institutions.
A majority of Afghan
people has opposed the restrictive policies against women imposed by
Taliban leadership. Over 90 percent of women and men “strongly support the
rights of women restricted by the Taliban government”. Afghani women are
constantly in need of a lasting peace, aid and proper health care,
education and economic infrastructure that can support them. More than 80
percent of the Afghans are of the view that women should be allowed to
move about freely as Islamic teachings did not restrict women’s humans
rights as the Taliban contends.
According to a report
98 percent of women in Taliban controlled areas said the Taliban has made
their lives “much worse”and attributed their declining mental and physical
health to its policies.
There are migrants
who suffer imprisonment and fear arrest or execution as members of suspect
families. They also face alienation in their societies as they oppose
Talibanic fundamentalism and the philosophy associated with their regime.
Thus the pro-Taliban stance prevailing in the society alienates them. The
Taliban exercise their control by punishing those who are in opposition.
Thus, alienation is taking the form of flight.
The refugees have
also increased because of the natural disaster that has befallen their
country of the draught. For those on the losing side of the civil war,
however, the defeat is very much a disaster. Following the Soviet
withdrawal, the civil war has brought bloodshed and political turmoil with
no apparent end, pushing the country on the verge of destruction. The
Taliban’s techniques to reduce its collective consciousness has affected
the Afghan society so severely that a member is incapable of asserting his
voice. Thus, the toiling masses of Afghanistan have now come under the
yoke of Taliban even though they may have achieved political liberation
from the foreign yoke. A society can flourish only in a democratic,
liberal and progressive environment but the conservative and orthodox
Taliban are against any such idea. Their roguish and reactionary attitude
is not only isolating Afghanistan from the rest of the world but is also
forcing their companions to leave their homeland.
There can be no real
peace and justice in Afghanistan unless the war comes to an end. The
vested interests and manipulating interests of the US that supported the
Islamists against the Soviets have now entered a new phase. The two key
supporters of Afghanistan’s so-called jihad, the US and Pakistan have
changed their priorities to pressurize the Taliban in order to fulfil the
agenda of the New World Order. Pakistan’s recent refusal to accommodate
the fresh wave of refugees is a part of the same power play .
Effects on Pakistan.
There has always been unrest among the Pakistani population regarding the
massive Afghan refugee influx. In the past, several factions of the
society expressed their reservations about its economic, political and
religious repercussions. Yet as long as the US backed the Afghan jihad
Pakistan warmly accepted the refugees and turned a deaf ear to such
expressions of concern. Consequently, the refugee camps became arms depot
and training havens for the Mujahideens. They also provided the means for
influencing action in favour of the American propaganda. In this context,
many American groups were established to aid the cause of the Afghan
Undoubtedly, it is
only due to the Taliban generated turmoil in Pakistan’s internal politics,
and the negative economic and religious impact of Afghan presence in
Pakistan (especially in the NWFP) that we can no longer absorb the
Afghans in our society. Politicians of whatever stripe must take this
reality into account.
Efforts to persuade
the Government of Pakistan by the UN High Commissioner of Refugees Rued
Lubber to register thousands of Afghan refugees in Jalozai have failed.
The UN peace envoy to Afghanistan reports that ordinary Afghans want peace
and access to health and education. They will also support anyone who is
willing to come forward to improve their lives. But mere rhetoric holds no
Problems. The only way to resolve the problems of ordinary people of
Afghanistan is to revolutionize their consciousness so that they could
realize their role in the society, identify their real enemy, and free
themselves from the yoke of the ignorant usurpers of this century. But
for this to happen in reality the refugees will have to return to
Afghanistan. The war cannot be stopped without the pressure of these
homeless people. Regretfully there is no organized force within
Afghanistan to resist the Taliban-inflicted catastrophe. Until
revolutionary and liberal forces within Afghanistan take positive and
practical steps, the beggary and covert of ordinary Afghans will not end.
Therefore, there is a greater need of maximizing progressive
effectiveness, particularly in dealing with the Taliban and the US mastery
in air. Attempts to achieve peace must be expedited by the ordinary
Afghans themselves because it is they who are suffering the most. At the
end of the day, it is the Afghans themselves who have to decide whether to
fight or not. To bring peace to Afghanistan, and to work for a proper
political solution, more active role and time should be given in
persuading the Talibans and convincing them to adopt a more liberal
attitude. There should be a modest improvement for Afghan women under the
Taliban including access to and quality of healthcare, education and
economic activities. This can be done in accordance and with the aid of
humanitarian aid community.
The solution of the
Afghan problem lies in creating short-and long-term policy initiatives on
domestic, regional and international fronts. A long standing and durable
peace in Afghanistan is crucial in for stability in Pakistan. The Afghan
minorities have been treated badly and women have no status in the Afghan
society. The Taliban regime has brought a “violent” kind of peace in
Afghanistan and that is not only disastrous for the Afghan society but
also for Pakistan. Pakistan must try to work for a genuine broad based
solution that has the confidence of the regional states, and of the
various segments of the Afghan society. The sooner peace comes to
Afghanistan, the better for the entire region including Pakistan.
government should negate any kind of propaganda extended by some outside
circles against Pakistan on this issue of repatriating Afghans from
Pakistan stressing on the fact that these countries would not even allow
the entry of refugees.
Najeebullah (the Afghan Consul General) has thanked Pakistan and the NWFP
government for taking care of these Afghan refugees. He said that the
people of Afghanistan would never forget all that Pakistan had done for
Analyzing the current
situation, it is hoped that with the passage of time the brotherly
relations between the two countries would strengthen further and gain more
Assistance to Afghanistan, the United Nations and the aid community have
worked in all areas of Afghanistan to assist needy people regardless of
ethnicity and political affiliation. In 2001, WFP food aid has reached
almost four million needy Afghans out of a total population estimated at
between 20 to 22 million. Over 800,000 victims of emergencies, natural and
man-made will receive food aid, while over 430,000 Afghans mainly women
and children, receive heavily subsidised bread from WFP bakeries in Kabul
The mine action
programme has trained over seven million Afghans in mine awareness,
cleared 550 million square meters of land and destroyed 1.6 million
explosives, rendering farmlands and residential areas safe. The
international community has built or rehabilitated drinking water schemes
and wells in hundreds of communities.
It has immunised
millions of children with over 5 million being reached in each round of
polio vaccination. In every sector, the assistance community has helped
millions of Afghans by trying to fill in the massive gap left by warring
parties, who for years have devoted their resources to guns rather than
butter. The aid community has been the provision of stable employment for
Afghans in Afghanistan. It has employed more than 25,000 Afghans with the
mine action programme being the single largest provider of decent paid
employment in the country.
The UNDP managed
PEACE programme is a model for replication once peace comes to
Afghanistan. The coordinated initiatives in the areas of food security,
disability, infrastructure and governance employ local people in their
areas of origin, help stem migration, keep families alive, and provide
hope for the future. The PEACE has also helped in the formation of over
1,200 community organizations. These help improve stability and promote
peace locally in the areas in which they operate.
In 2000, the
combination of conflict and drought triggered a major displacement of
Afghans. At present, about 800,000 Afghans have left their homes, with at
least half a million internally displaced inside Afghanistan. The people
of Afghanistan are facing the most serious humanitarian crisis in the
recent history of the country. Numbers of internally displaced are as
Northeast over 100,000
Estimates of Afghans
stranded in villages who lack the money to pay for transport to leave vary
between one to two million people.
The aid community has
provided food to thousands of the displaced and shelter of various kinds —
from mud houses to tents to plastic sheets — to almost 200,000 of the
newly internally displaced. It has also intervened with local authorities
to make available vacant public buildings for sheltering the displaced and
has helped to winterise these public buildings. It has provided for basic
needs like blankets, quilts, clothing, watercans, soap, cooking kits, fuel
and other non-food items in so far as resources have permitted. Without
this aid, undoubtedly, several thousands Afghans would have fled to
In 2001, Afghanistan
faces an accumulated deficit accrued during 23 years of war, massive
under-development, humans rights violations and the worst drought in
In 2000 over 200,000
people became displaced as a direct consequence of heavy fighting in the
spring and summer and none of them has been able to return to their homes.
In addition, in summer 2000, internal displacement in Afghanistan has
occurred year after year. In Kabul, nearly half of the city’s 1.8 million
residents are people who have taken refuge there over the past six to
eight years because of the fighting in various parts of the country. The
resumption of full scale fighting in 2001, expected north of Kabul, in the
northern provinces of Takhur and Kunduz and possibly in the western
region, will lead to increased conflict related displacement, and refugees
in the course of 2001.
Funding trends for
Afghanistan: Overall, there are five main strategic objectives for
assistance to Afghanistan:
advancement of human rights.
Provision of basic
social services of health, education, water and sanitation.
Afghans to build sustainable livelihoods.
Return of refugees.
for Afghanistan (CAP) each year to mobilize funds for a wide array of
assistance programmes within that country. This is the main resource
mobilisation tool to supplement agencies core funding.
In 2001, the aid
community has planned for almost $300 million in aid to Afghanistan. Due
to the increasing scale of emergency in Afghanistan, the CAP has been
revised further from $224 million to $254 million, and will be revised
In 2000, funding for
basic social services picked up slightly, while funding for responding to
emergencies picked up substantially. It is estimated that by the year
2002, it is probable that donors will continue to support the traditional
areas of food aid and mine action, and early evidence suggests a positive
response to health initiatives.
underfunding of sustainable livelihoods, and particularly of agricultural
and rural infrastructure, has meant that much needed advancement in food
security has been impeded.
It is understood that
an assistance budget of $300 million is modest for a country in such great
need as Afghanistan. However, only a peace settlement will make possible
major bilateral funding which will allow for major reconstruction and
Solution to Afghan
Crisis Whichever way the the Afghan problem is solved, whether by the
neighbouring countries or through the UN an important point that has to be
taken into consideration is that Afghanistan remains united and as one
The fighting going on
in Afghanistan is due to the abundance of weapons. These weapons along
with the gangs plundered the life, property and honour of innocent
Afghans. So the first step in bringing peace should be the collection of
weapons. Noteworthy, the Pakistan government has started the screening
procedure of those Afghans staying illegally from the 20th of June. The
Pakistan government has also started the collection of unregistered
weapons from the various Afghan sections in Pakistan.
To bring peace in
Afghanistan, more active role and time should be given in persuading and
convincing the Taliban to adopt a more flexible attitude towards the
people of their own country. The regime set up by the Taliban is a subject
of debate throughout the country. According to a survey conducted, many
Pakistani people belonging to a liberal, educated, background widely
condemn the Taliban for their forceful acts conducted in the name of
religion. These critics opine that the Taliban do not know anything of
Islam. They stress that Taliban seem to have dual standards and their
forceful acts have proved them to be the most intolerant people in the
modern world. They accuse the Taliban of being narrow-minded and self-centred.
The students of Darul-Uloom emphasize that the forceful acts of Taliban
like ordering people to grow beards, destroy their televisions and
computers and mostly music systems are disliked by them.
Afghanistan’s Taliban movement is incapable of representing the country
abroad. The Taliban who control two-thirds of the country, had no reason
to pretend to represent Afghanistan on the international scene.
The Taliban should
adopt a more flexible and soft attitude towards the people. They should
allow the Afghan women to receive education and engage in employment
activities. The Taliban should help in the eradication of poverty from
their society and provide shelter and peace to the people. The people of
Afghanistan should be allowed to select their leaders. The warring Afghan
factions should immediately stop fighting. Perhaps this could pave the way
for the peaceful settlement of the anarchy spread in Afghanistan.
Nearly one million
people have been displaced from their villages as a result of their battle
between the Taliban and its rivals and the worst drought in three decades.
According to the UN, the calamity has engulfed most of the Afghanistan for
three successive years and around five million people face the threat of
More aid should be
liberated from the G8 countries for poor Afghans. As a political and
economic world force, the G8 countries are required to dispatch urgent aid
to the Afghani people.