Pakistan doesn’t have capability to cater to extra Afghan refugees: FM Qureshi

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Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in an interview with The Independent. — Radio Pakistan
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in an interview with The Independent. — Radio Pakistan

ISLAMABAD:  Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has mentioned that Pakistan doesn’t have the capability to absorb extra refugees from Afghanistan, because the Afghans search to exit the nation following Taliban’s take over.

FM Qureshi, in an interview with The Independent, rejected the notion of Pakistan constructing refugee camps or resettlement processing amenities for the individuals coming from Afghanistan.

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Instead, he mentioned, Pakistan would proceed to facilitate the departure of these with legitimate paperwork who wished to exit Afghanistan through Pakistan — drawing the road at permitting an inflow of refugees.

Qureshi instructed the publication that Pakistani authorities would take into account formal requests “on merit” from the UK for British illustration of their embassy in Kabul to assist with functions.

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Qureshi mentioned there had been “no rush” on Pakistan’s borders, and pressured that there was no want for individuals to flee Afghanistan because the nation was “peaceful and stable”.

“We have our limitations. [Pakistan has] been hosting over three million, almost close to four million refugees for so many decades without any international help or assistance. We do not have the capacity to absorb more, honestly,” he mentioned.

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“Our preference is that [Afghans] stay within Afghanistan and they are provided security and safety within Afghanistan,” he mentioned.

He added that any processing facility the place Afghan residents can apply for asylum must be in Afghanistan. “It needs to be over there — that’s the place they belong, that’s their nation.”

The foreign minister said the UK should “accept the new reality” in Afghanistan and deliver immediate aid to the Taliban-run country, warning that isolating the Taliban authorities would lead to economic collapse, “anarchy”, and “chaos”.

He said the UK and its Western allies were not doing enough to engage with the Taliban administration or to avert a burgeoning humanitarian crisis and urged the West to provide supplies with no political conditions attached.

The foreign minister warned that Pakistan would not be willing to take in any more Afghan refugees as it is already hosting several million from decades of past conflicts.

Taliban leadership ‘quite distinct and different’ from 1990s

“My message [to the UK] is that there is a new reality in Afghanistan. Accept the new reality and let us work to achieve our objectives,” Qureshi said.

“Isolation will not help. It will lead to a humanitarian crisis, it will lead to an economic collapse, and it will create space for elements that have not been helpful for you, me, or anyone.

“Anarchy, chaos will facilitate their presence there. Don’t do that. Engagement, we feel, is a better option. If [the Taliban] are saying positive things, nudge them in that direction. Do not push them into a corner.”

One of the first steps, he said, was delivering immediate aid. “There should be no strings attached, there should be no political conditions attached to humanitarian assistance.”

Qureshi mentioned Pakistan had acquired verbal assurances from the Afghan Taliban that they’d not enable any group to stage terror assaults on Pakistan from Afghanistan, however he added that Islamabad was ready to see “in the event that they act on what they’ve mentioned”.

Qureshi maintained that the behaviour of the brand new Taliban management was “quite distinct and different” from that seen within the 1990s, saying that, for instance, protests in Kabul had “by and large been tolerated”.

“These are initial signs which are not discouraging. Let’s see if this is the direction that they follow,” he concluded.

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