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The Killid Group
Afghans decry harsh treatment in PakistanWritten by Farhad
Monday, 04 April 2011 08:49
Afghan citizens travelling to Pakistan are complaining about harsh treatment by Pakistan police and border security forces.
Several Afghans who have recently returned home from Pakistan's Khyber Pukhtunkhwa Province accused Pakistani police of extortion and bribery. "They [the police] stop Afghans everywhere and ask for money and those who refuse usually end up in jails," alleged Ahmad Nabi, a Kabul resident.
"I had a valid passport and visa but still I was disturbed by the Pakistani police and was forced to pay off bribe in order to avoid going to the prison," alleged another man, Gholam Sakhi.
Up to 2 million Afghan refugees are living in different cities in Pakistan who have legal residence and work documents from the host country, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Hundreds of thousands of Afghan migrants also live and work in Pakistan who are not recognized as refugees, UNHCR says. Afghans also travel to the neighboring Pakistan for various business, health, education and familial purposes.
"I took my mother for treatment in Pakistan because the hospital and health services are better there than in Afghanistan, but I was extorted by the Pakistan police in Peshawar," said Aminullah, a Kabul resident.
Even the refugees who are legally allowed to stay in Pakistan allege that they are often harassed by Pakistani security forces.
"The police arrested me. I showed them my registration card but they still took me to the police station and then shifted me to the Peshawar central jail where I was kept for two nights. On the third day I was released after my family took my case to the courts," said Zaman Shah, an Afghan refugee who had come to Kabul to visit family members.
In response to these allegations, Muhammad Rafiq Ghuwri, Pakistan's General Consul in the eastern Nangrahar Province said that his government was treating Afghan refugees better than anywhere else. "I can assure you that our security forces and police are not harassing Afghans who stay lawfully in Pakistan and I strongly reject accusations of corruption and extortion as well," said Ghuwri.
Millions of Afghans have sought refuge in Pakistan and Iran over the past three decades of war and social turmoil in Afghanistan. More than 4 million Afghan refugees have voluntarily repatriated to their home country since 2002, according to UNHCR.