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Editor`s Note (July 2018)

After expiry of POR cards on 30th June the Federal Cabinet has extended POR cards validity until 30th September 2018. During the first six months of the year 2018, it is the fourth time that the validity of PoR cards was extended, initially it was for one month then two months then until June 30th and now till September, which clearly indicates that the Government has no clear and viable policy to deal with the fate of refugees living in Pakistan and also lacks the vision to understand the issue, reasons, merits & demerits to manage the sustainable solution for the vulnerable people. These short-term decisions are further increasing uncertainty not only among Afghan refugees but also to the international community in terms of help, support and resource allocations.

It has been now almost 40 years that Pakistan is hosting refugees but there is no policy outlined till date and if some measures are taken were never fully implemented due to no political will, no understanding to the ground realities, no clear vision and no ability of realizing the impacts of adhocism which is causing more vulnerability and adding undue pressures on the refugee communities. If a long-term decision had been taken at the start of the year by extending the validity of PoR cards till end of year, it would not have only appreciated but have had some benefits. The issue is that when will we be able to stand firmly and prove ourselves as a responsible nation and adopt policies which are favorable not only for us but also for the others around us. The fact is that we as a nation are behaving more responsibly but through irresponsible attitude.

The federal government adopted refugee management policy in February last year but still no initiative on major point of the policy particularly regarding National Refugee Law. It is very unfortunate state of affairs, when the government is unable to respect its own cabinet decision and it shows its incapacity of implementing even policy decisions than the state of affairs would be the same as we are facing nationally right now.

AL-Qanoon has suggested many a times for inviting regional stakeholders from Pakistan Afghanistan and Iran along with international stakeholders to discuss this longstanding issue mutually and agree on practical and durable solution to end the crisis once for all with the agreement and ownership of all the stakeholders across the border. The consistant short term extension of PoR cards is neither appreciable solution not a wise policy which is exposing un-visionary approach of our country internationally.

We need to be more practical to prove ourselves as a responsible country to make recognize our long sacrifices with visionary approach rather losing everything despite the fact we are more responsible than many other so called civilized countries. We have paid more sacrifices than anyone else. We proved the meaning of true Islamic brotherhood and also shown commitment by respecting the international obligations without any liability. We have been hosting refugee population peacefully and respectfully for the longest period of nearly 4 decades. Our contributions to humanity are remarkable. Despite many challenges our nation and our institutions protected refugees and perhaps it is an example that communities are still living together without any conflict. These are our big achievements but all we are losing because of our short sightedness.

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