University hostels should not be released to accommodate refugees: Sheikh Rasheed
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has so far not granted refugee status to any Afghan person, said Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed.
Speaking at a press conference a day before the United States and other foreign troops completed their withdrawal from the war-torn country, he said: “I can confirm as Home Secretary that we did not grant refugee status to just one person. . “The United States also asked Pakistan to provide transit facilities, after which Islamabad made arrangements in hotels in the city, he said. Afghans arrive daily in Pakistan via the border from Shaman, then go back to their country and it’s a normal activity, Rasheed said.
He said Pakistan had “made arrangements to accommodate 3,000 people in Islamabad alone.” He added that “anyone of any nationality who comes to Pakistan from Afghanistan will be granted a 21-day transit visa.” He said that to date 1,627 people have entered Pakistan by air, while more than 2,100 people have arrived by land in Torkham.
“We expected a huge influx of refugees from Afghanistan, but not a single person came to Pakistan as a refugee,” Rasheed said. He said that we are closely monitoring the movement of people. Speaking of the developments in Afghanistan, the minister said that Pakistan had evacuated all the citizens of the country except 30-40. “These 30-40 people want to stay in Afghanistan, they got married there and now have families, they told us they were happy in Afghanistan, ”he added.
He said Islamabad hoped Afghanistan would not allow its territory to be used against Pakistan because New Delhi may use militant groups to carry out subversive activities in Pakistan. Rasheed said Pakistan was the only country in the world to have sacrificed more than 80,000 lives to establish peace in Afghanistan and the region. He said Pakistan hopes the Taliban will not let their soil be used against its neighboring country. “Daesh fighters are present in Nuristan and in the Kunar mountains,” he admitted.
During the press conference, he also criticized the PDM and said that the opposition’s “timing and timing” were both flawed. “The opposition must prepare for the next elections,” he advised. He said Pakistan was going to be part of international politics and the opposition parties in Pakistan were playing petty politics. The minister said that the Pakistani people are now aware of the political issues, he added that by the time of the next general election, all outstanding NAB cases will be resolved.