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Pak stand may displace 3m Afghans

Pakistan’s plans to cancel refugee status for all Afghans living in the country at the end of 2012 could displace some 3 million people, creating the world’s biggest cluster of refugees, according to a report.

world Updated: Jul 22, 2012 02:07 IST

Pakistan’s plans to cancel refugee status for all Afghans living in the country at the end of 2012 could displace some 3 million people, creating the world’s biggest cluster of refugees, according to a report.

According to the Guardian, pushing the refugees into Afghanistan would create a new crisis for that country, already struggling with an insurgency.

The West is urging Pakistan to reconsider its policy, which puts it at odds with the United Nations and other international partners.

According to the paper, the international community and the Afghan government have no strategy prepared to deal with any such influx of people.

Pakistan’s top administrator in charge of the Afghan refugee issue, Habibullah Khan, secretary of the ministry of states and frontier regions, has said that Islamabad would not relent.http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/7/22_07_pgq19b.jpg

“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,” the paper quoted him as saying.

According to the paper, Pakistan has hosted Afghan refugees for over 30 years, after they fled the Soviet invasion in the 1980s, the horrors of the civil war, Taliban rule and the conflict triggered by the US-led invasion of the country in late 2001.

There are 1.7 million Afghan refugees registered in Pakistan. More than half of them are under 18, of whom 630,000 live in camps. A further 1 million are estimated to be living unregistered and illegally.