(formerly IRIN News) Journalism from the heart of crises

Pakistan can’t cope with refugee influx

Pakistan has denied reports that the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province (NWFP) has been closed, but admitted the entry of foreigners into the country was now being “regulated”. Pakistani interior ministry secretary Hasan Raza Pasha told IRIN on Monday that his ministry was in touch with the Afghan authorities and had taken the necessary steps to regulate the movement of refugees. “We spoke of our concern of the free movement of these people in May and the Afghans agreed in principle in initiating a plan to regulate their entry with authorised travel documents,” he said. “However, this was before the recent influx of people arriving in October and we are in no position to accept any more.”

Pasha’s comments came after reports on Thursday that Islamabad had imposed a ban on Afghans entering its North-West Frontier and Baluchistan provinces because of the worsening economic and security situation in the country. According to Pakistani officials, approximately two million Afghans are living in Pakistan today.

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