Pakistan + 1 more

The Afghan Refugees in Pakistan

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By Frédéric Grare and William Maley
(June 30, 2011)

There are always two competing ethical perspectives at play when dealing with conflict-induced refugee situations. The first is purely humanitarian, entirely divorced from political considerations. The second is a political and military perspective, which considers the refugee problem as an integral part of the larger political issue, in which the host country may share part of the responsibility. Actual policies must of course take into account the two sides of the problem and provide safety and security to the refugees without furthering the political and military goals of the parties in conflict, including those of the host country.

The Afghan refugee problem in Pakistan is no exception. Pakistan has always proved both truly generous and ambivalent in its relations with Afghan refugees. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), about 1.9 million registered refugees were present in Pakistan in January 2011, the vast majority of whom were from Afghanistan. Moreover, since the first half of 2009, Pakistan has had to face the additional burden of about 2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), due to the military operations in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (formerly North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)). This burden would be considered unbearable in many developed countries. Pakistan’s continued acceptance of the additional Afghan refugee caseload is therefore all the more remarkable.

Disclaimers

Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique
The project "Refugeecooperation.org" (http://www.refugeecooperation.org/) was designed to suggest ways to enhance transatlantic coherence and cooperation in humanitarian action in regard to refugee/IDP related problems.
Middle East Institute
The project "Refugeecooperation.org" (http://www.refugeecooperation.org/) was designed to suggest ways to enhance transatlantic coherence and cooperation in humanitarian action in regard to refugee/IDP- related problems.