Human Rights Watch asks Pak to cease driving Afghan refugees away

Kabul [Afghanistan], Sept. 15 : Maintaining that Pakistan should extend legal residency status to Afghan refugees till the end of December next year, Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Thursday called on its authorities to cease "coercive measures and other abuses" that are driving tens of thousands of Afghan refugees from the country.

"Pakistani authorities are increasingly committing abuses against Afghan refugees that are triggering a mass refugee return," Tolo News quoted Patricia Gossman, a senior Afghanistan researcher at Human Rights Watch, as saying.

She said that the government should rein in its abusive security forces and ensure the refugees secure status and protection.

The Pakistani police and provincial authorities since July this year is said to have stepped up pressure against Afghans living in the country in what the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has called "a concerted push" to repatriate a large number of Afghan refugees before the end of 2016.

Following this there has been increased tensions Kabul and Islamabad. Nearly 90,000 Afghan refugees, out of an estimated total of 1.5 million, is said to have returned in 2016 in September.

According to reports, the returnees have alleged that Pakistani police harassed and detained them. Pakistan on June 29, extended the validity of Afghans' Proof of Registration (PoR) cards until the end of December.

And on September 9, it granted a 10-week extension, until March 17, 2017..

Source: ANI