QUETTA: Four Afghan refugees have been killed and nine sustained injuries in clashes with the police and levies in an Afghan refugee camp "Jungle Pir Alizai" in Balochistan here on Wednesday. According to reports, the clashes erupted when the district administration, the police, levies and anti-terrorism force after expiring the deadline of elimination of Jangle Pir Alizai Refugee Camp started to demolish the illegal constructions there. The Afghan refugees during the operation pelted stones on police vehicles which injured three police officials and the police in response threw teargas shells to disburse the angry crowd. The shelling by the police injured four persons and thousand of people closed Quetta - Chaman Highway by installing barriers on six points and after surrounding the police started firing which injured five officials of levis and the police. In retaliation from the officials, four Afghan refugees have been killed which made the situation worst. The police and levies have demanded more force to control the situation. It is worth mentioning here that the government had announced to close down two camps in Balochistan this year and had set May 15 a dead line to close Jungle Pir Alizai refugee camp 62 km west of Quetta, the provincial capital. The camp is home to some 35,000 Afghan refugees. Pakistan says the camps will be closed due to security concerns as militants have taken shelters in the camps, located near the Afghan border. A second Baloch camp facing closure is the Girdi Jungle Camp, where another 40,000 Afghans live. It is 400 km from Quetta and close to the Iranian border. Afghan refugees in the two camps had raised concerns over their future. UNHCR says that Pakistan still hosts some 2.15 million registered Afghans. According to a recent report on the registration of Afghans living in the country, the majority of Afghans registered (82 percent) said they had no intention of returning to their homeland in the near future, with 41 percent citing insecurity as the primary impediment to their return. However, the decision to proceed with the closure of the two camps in Balochistan, alongside the Katchagari and Jalozai refugee camps in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province, home to another 150,000 Afghans, was already reaffirmed in February at the Tripartite Commission meeting between Afghanistan, Pakistan and the UNHCR.
- Frontier Post
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