After the Russian invasion in 1979, most of the disturbed Afghans fled their homes. A huge number of refugees rushed to Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan. Their influx increases infrastructure problems in the targeted countries. According to the United nations available resources, more than 4 million registered Afghan refugees, took shelter in Pakistan. These refugees were given nominated spaces throughout Khyber Pakhtunkhwa & Baluchistan to live there. After the fall of Kabul, refugees remained in Pakistani provinces. During their stay, so many incidents took place in Pakistan. According to the intelligence reports, in many terrorists’ activities, Afghan refugees found responsible. The recent attack of Army Public School showed a strong connection between Afghan refugees’ involvement in the incident. Pakistani Media also portrayed them with angles.
Afghan, Refugees, APS,
Afghan refugees have been residing in Pakistan since 1979 when soviet forces entered Afghanistan in supports of socialist revolution. Initially, at least 1.5 million people crossed over into Pakistan, which ultimately reached three million (Refugee Council Website, 2014; UNHCR Website, 2014). These Afghan refugees almost integrated into the local community and are running their own business. They live in the same community with no noticeable mistrust.
However, when terrorists attacked the Army Public School Peshawar on December 16, 2014, killing 136 children, the Afghan refugees became suspect for media and common people. The Pakistan Tehrik Insaf (PTI) led government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa held a cabinet meeting on December 23rd, 2015, which blamed Afghan refugees for this attack. The cabinet demanded that the federal government should include the issue of Afghan refugees in the National Action Plan (NAP) is a concerted state strategy launched soon after the APS school terrorist attack designed to counter-terrorism acts in the country because these refugees, according to the meeting have facilitated terrorists in the Peshawar attack. Within three months of APS attack and statement of the provincial government, almost 550, 00 refugee’s left Pakistan (Telegraph, 2015). There was an increasing outcry against Afghan refugee’s presence in Pakistani media which swayed public opinion negatively.
In this research, I examine four mainstream Pakistani newspapers to find out how Afghan refugees are represented/portrayed before and after the APS attack.
Introduction to “Refugee”
The 1951 Refugees Convention states that a refugee is a person who is outside his or her home country and who has a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Most likely, they cannot return home or are afraid to do so. War and ethnic, tribal and religious violence are leading causes of refugees fleeing their countries.
History of Afghan Refugees
The official name of Afghanistan is the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Afghanistan has a population of approximately 30.5 million, which is the 42nd most populous country in the world. Afghanistan has a border with Pakistan in the South and East.
British attacked Afghanistan for three times which is known as the Anglo Afghan war (Bamber, 2001). The First Anglo-Afghan War occurred from 1839 to 1842, the second was 1878 to 1880, and the third was in 1919. The British made a treaty with Afghanistan, which is known as Anglo-Afghan treaty. British established a friendly relation with Afghanistan. That’s why Afghanistan celebrated August 19, 1919, as a day of independence. It should be noted that Afghanistan was not part of British India Colony.
In 1979, the Soviet Union sent its military forces to Afghanistan as a continuation of communist expansionist policy. According to United Nation High Commoner for Refugees (UNHCR), the citizens of Afghanistan fled to 70 countries while 95 percent people rushed just to the two neighbor countries, Pakistan and Iran.
After the Geneva accord, Russia handed over control to the local government and left the country. Most Afghan refugees returned to Afghanistan from the whole world in 1990 after the Soviet Union withdrew their Army. This also caused massive repatriation from Pakistan. In 1992, over 1.5 million Afghan refugees returned to their homeland. However, it was estimated that over two million had not returned, in spite of the repatriation program underway and the desire of the government and UNHCR (Guhfran, 2014).
America attacked Afghanistan in 2001 following 9/11 attacks on the world trade centre. Once again, Pakistan and Iran received 2.6 million refugees (UNHCR). According to the statistics of UNHCR, Pakistan received 1.5 million refugees. Currently, Pakistan is hosting 1.5 m registered and one million unregistered refugees. (DAWN, 2015).
The presence of Afghan refugees in Pakistan has always questioned by the officials. It was a period of 2002 to 2005 that Pakistan signed an agreement with the Afghanistan government about the repatriation of refugees. Within this period, over 3.5 million individuals returned from Pakistan, Iran and other hosting countries to Afghanistan. However, the continued civil war in the country made it impossible for the entire refugee population to return and made the situation more complex for policymakers (Ghufran, 2008). From October 2006 to February 2007 Pakistani officials launched a countrywide campaign to register Afghan refugees. In this campaign Pakistan gave-with the help of UNHCR- a Proof of Registration (PoR) to Afghan refugees and allowed them to stay for another three years in Pakistan. (UNHCR, 2006).
Current Situation of Afghan Refugees in Pakistan
UNHCR launched the Solution Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR) in May 2012, and the extension of Afghan refugees PoR cards until the end of 2015 (UNHCR, 2014) and stated that now from May 2012 to December 2015, Refugees will not be considered refugees rather they are Afghans citizens living in Pakistan.
In Pakistan, the terrorist attack on the Army Public School and College in Peshawar on December 16, 2014, which killed 154 people, mostly students, has made it difficult for the Afghan refugees to stay with a peace of mind in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the rest of the country as a crackdown has been launched against them.
Though many Afghan refugees possess legal documents to live in Pakistan till December 31, 2015, the crackdown has forced many to leave the country. Soon after the Peshawar school attack, the government announced 20 points National Action Plan (NAP) for the eradication of terrorism. The NAP also called for making arrangements to repatriate the Afghan refugees. (The News International, February 12, 2015).
Pakistani officials pointed out that Afghan refugee is facilitating terrorist, and they are also involved in terrorist activities (daily Aaj, December 21, 2014). While on other hand Richard Danziger, head of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) mission in Kabul, told that “Afghan refugees have been living in neighboring Pakistan for decades, and they were never involved in any terrorist attacks” (Dawn, Feb 12, 2015).
The authorities in Pakistan took hard to stand on the repatriation of Afghan refugees. As a result, according to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), it had so far facilitated the repatriation of over 56,000 registered Afghan refugees from Pakistan in 2015. (Express Tribune, November 12, 2015). This reparation increases in the year of 2016, and Over 76,300 registered Afghans have returned to Afghanistan this year from January 1 to August 27 through the Voluntary Repatriation Centers of United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).
Officials said that the government had decided to extend the stay of Afghan refugees until March 2017. “The Cabinet while deliberating on agenda, i.e. Extension of the Proof Registration (PoR) cards and Tripartite Agreement in respect of registered Afghan refugees approved the extension till March 31, 2017,” an official statement said. (Express Tribune, September 9, 2016).
Army Public School (APS) is situated on Warsak Road in Peshawar Cantt. On December 16, 2014, at 10:30 am, seven terrorists attacked APS School.
According to DAWN newspaper (December 17, 2014), at the first attempt, terrorists killed the security guards and moved toward the auditorium hall where pupils were gathered. They shot the students, and one of the terrorists blew himself and killed a lot of children. As a result, 134 children were killed, including 10 school staff members. The principal of the school, Ms Tahira Qazi, was also killed.
Director-General of Inter-Service Public Relation (ISPR), the Public relation department of Pakistan Army, Major General Asim Bajwa said to media that quick response of Pakistan Army saved 960 students and killed seven terrorists till 5:20 pm evening, while Seven ISSG Pakistan army was injured. Tehreek Taliban Pakistan (TTP) accepted the responsibility and said that attack is the results of an operation launched by Pakistan army in FATA against Taliban. (Express, 17, December).
The School attack is being considered game-changer in civilian and military perspectives. Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI) ended its protest against a sitting government. An All-Party Conference (APC) was held including army chief and devised National Action Plan (NAP) to counter-terrorism. The military courts were established for speedy trial of terrorism-related cases.
According to DG ISPR, the terrorist was commanded from Afghanistan while tracing calling to mastermind. Therefore, chief of Pakistan army General Raheel Shareef took evidence and visited Afghanistan after the massacre of Peshawar School.
After the APS attack, countrywide crackdowns started against refugees. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police harassed refugees on a daily basis. Therefore, 55,000 refugees left Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in just three months (Telegraph, 2015).
So, I am looking at the contents of Pakistan’s print media that how Afghan refugees are being represented in the newspapers after the APS attack.
Objective of the Study
The aim/objective of this research is to analyze the representation of refugees by Pakistan’s print media and its consequences on the real-life of these refugees. Especially in the wake of the recent terror attack on APS, the debate about Afghan refugees has gotten momentum.
Media has a significant role in shaping public opinion and the state’s policies regarding a specific community. When media misrepresent refugees, the opinion of the people changes accordingly, which affects the lives of refugees. The treatment of law enforcement agencies worsens with refugees, and the behavior of local communities also gets marred after a negative portrayal. This study analyzes the implications of negative portrayal for the refugees.
Significance of the Study
After conducting this study, we will be able to know that how Pakistan’s leading media portrayed Afghan refugees in the connection of APS attack. This research study also will be helpful for upcoming researchers who want to know about the situation of Afghan Refugees leading media organizations of Pakistan.
Many research studies have been conducted on the issue of media portrayal of refugees and its implication on their lives (e.g., Venir, 2015; Parker, 2015; Bowen, 2012). Refugees are a worldwide topic and are frequently discussed in media, as Coole (2002) argues that refugees are considered increasingly newsworthy, and are thus receiving growing attention from the media. Also, academic research on the topic of media representation of refugees is increasing and becoming more and more prominent (Hill at al., 2011). Especially after the 9/11 Afghan refugee crisis became particularly topical (Coole, 2002; Wrights, 2004). So, this research is analyzing the media representation of Afghan refugees in Pakistan’s print media in the wake of the APS attack.
In the news media through the use of adjectives, metaphors and simile etc., a specific image of refugees is constructed in their discourses. For example, the Australian print media focus on border protection about refugees, and it was clear, through the repeated use of the term “boat people’’, that it was specifically those attempting to enter the country illegally by boat (Breen, 2004). In the UK’s newspapers, the word tragic repertoire was used. As Khosravinik (2009) discusses the dual nature of narratives of media in linguistics deployed to either construct victimization stories or perpetuate stereotypes and hostile attitudes. Stereotypes found in the media representations of refugees are a connection to criminality, illegitimacy, representing a threat to national identity and to the economy (Breen, 2004). As criminal activities are mostly associated with afghan refugees in Pakistan’s print media, it creates their negative identity.
The public perceptions have always changed with the news coverage as the Australian Human Rights Commission (2010) comments that the way refugees are represented in media actually shape public perceptions and opinions about them. Because of such representation of the media, the reaction against refugees is made legitimized in the eyes of the public.
The study of phy.org/news (2013) argues that the media may not only promote the dehumanization of refugees through depiction that highlight potential threat to the society but provide readymade justification for the dehumanization and consequent outcome. Refugees are associated with different problematic implications, for example, the spreading of diseases and crimes.
Refugees are presented as connected to extreme and unfamiliar elements such as terrorism. They can be dichotomously divided into popular and unpopular (Gibney, 1999) or deserving and undeserving (Malloch & Stanley, 2005). These distinctions were acknowledged that migrants are treated as a special category of refugees, pointing out the genuine nature of refugee and the opportunist or undeserving nature refugees. News media may take advantage of uncertainty about refugees. Gibney (1999) argues that refugees create an opportunity to the media and political elites to grab the public attention, alerting them to suppose physical, economic and cultural threats from refugees as they transfer relatively mundane episode into newsworthy events that can be sold to the public and serve as support for relatively extreme political platforms.
On the one hand, refugees are perceived either as bogus claimants or as criminals/terrorists, the automatic dehumanization of refugees (Esses, 2014). On the other hand, they are also perceived as victims. He showed that exposing participants to editorials depicting refugees as bogus, terrorists or, surprisingly, as victims activated the automatic dehumanization of refugees. In contrast, exposing participants to an editorial with neutral, factual information about refugees did not activate the automatic dehumanization.
Media representations have already become modes of military conduct. The perceptual realities produced through such frames become their identity. Stuart Hall (2007) argues that discursive approach examines not only how language and representation produce meaning, but how the knowledge which a particular discourse produces connects with power, regulates conduct, makes up or constructs identities and subjectivities, and defines the way certain things are represented, thought about, practised and studied. The emphasis in the discursive approach is always on the historical specificity of a particular form of ‘regime’ of representation: not on language as a general concern, but on specific languages or meanings, and how they are deployed at particular times, in particular places. It points us towards greater historical specificity – the way representational practices operate in concrete historical situations, in actual practice (2007, p. 6).
Every bad news is good news for media; sometimes, the media deliberately make suspense in the news in order to grab public attention (Malloch & Stanley, 2005). Refugees is an individual with personal stories. Such representation constructs an account which could be seen as a justification for the political decision. The classification of refugees in these different manners can have a humanizing or etherizing effect, which contributes to the greater news framing of the issue. These word choices can have a strong influence on public opinion and how these refugees are treated both when considering whether to accept them or deny (Calavita, 1998). With the negative and tilted portrayal, it is evident that the host society will not accept refugees.
Refugees are frequently portrayed through hostility themes, described as potential lawbreakers, bad parents, and a “scrounge” on the host community (Leudar et al., 2008, p. 195). This process of “othering” was created through the use of divisive word choice such as “illegals” and through the objectification of refugees (Bradimore & Bauder, 2011, p. 641). News framing in this way created division pairs, such as “outsiders” versus members of the host community (Steimel, 2009, p. 67) or in some cases division between Pakistan and Afghan Pakhtuns.
Otherization, dehumanization and objectification of refugees occurred through the use of terms such as “alien,” “illegal,” and “boat people,” which left readers with a distorted understanding of who migrants were (Bradimore & Bauder, 2011, p. 640). The common negative frames created by the media discourse throughout multiple countries played a role in shaping political processes, especially because they legitimized xenophobic policies and attitudes toward refugees and migrants (Mihelj, 2004, p.184).
In light of the above discussion, it comes to conclude that media is frequently busy to construct a bad image of refugees, and these portrayals have an implication on their lives. Pakistan is also hosting a maximum of three million Afghan refugees; they face many problems after the current terror attack on Army Public School (APS). In this study, I will analyze how Pakistan’s print media portray Afghan refugees?
For this study, Framing Theory, developed by Entman (1993), is being employed. Media framing is the way in which information is presented to its audiences. Framing and priming are the basic techniques used by the media in Agenda Setting process (McComb and Shaw, 1970). Entman (1993) posits, “Agenda setting serves as the first function of framing as it defines the problems worthy of government attention.” Priming is “the goal, the intended effect, of strategic actors’ framing activities”, (p. 165). When paired, agenda-setting and priming have the ability to create widespread bias. Bias, as defined by Entman (1993) is “consistent patterns in the framing of mediated communication that promote the influence of one side of conflicts over the use of government power” (p. 166).
How Pakistan’s print media represent Afghan refugees in the wake of Army Public School? (APS) attack.
Methodology for this study is qualitative content analysis informed by Framing Theory (Goffman, 1974) incorporated to Media by Entman (1993). Walizer and Wienir (1978) cited by Wimmer & Dominick (2013) define content analysis as any systematic procedure devised to examine the contents of recorded information; Krippendorf (2004) defines it as a research technique for making replicable and valid references from data to their context. Kerlinger’s (2000) definition is fairly typical: Content analysis is a method of studying and analyzing communication in a systematic, objective, and quantitative manner for the purpose of measuring variables. This method is inspired by linguistics and interrogates how language is used to construct social reality? How are certain aspects of reality emphasized while others ignored?
In the newspapers, I evaluated front, back and Op-ed pages. I closely read News stories, Opinion articles, and letter to the editor published in these pages. I collected the data from two sources. First, the online achieves of three newspapers were available, so I benefited from it. The fourth daily Aaj had no web archives, so I used the university’s main library where its achieves are available.
After collecting the data, I thoroughly read the whole data. In the second reading, I closely examined the data looking for patterns and themes. In this stage, I divided the data into clusters on the basis of different themes. Then, I interpreted each clustered qualitatively looking for different frames the newspapers have used while reporting Afghan refugees.
I selected four newspapers: The News International, Daily DAWN, Daily Aaj and Daily Express. Two of them (Daily Aaj and Daily Express) are Peshawar based as the Army Public School (APS) attack happened in Peshawar. The rest of the two newspapers are mainstream.
Data Analysis and Findings
In this chapter, the data is qualitatively being examined looking for different frames the journalists have used while reporting Afghan refugees. According to Entman (2003), the frame has four basic functions: defines the problem, diagnoses cause, makes a moral judgment and suggests remedies. Framing makes perception without having to alter the actual facts. Frames are used by media to encourage certain interpretations and to discourage others, make sense of the world and to emphasize specific values, facts, and other considerations, and endowing them with greater apparent applicability for making related judgments. News media promotes particular definitions, interpretations, evaluations and recommendations of a certain issue with the help of these frames ((Entman, 1993).
I found the following two frames in the data, i.e., Security and Economic.
The Security Frame
Security frame was more highlighted because of the Army Public School (APS) attack. When the terrorist attacked the school, the media asked a question about the province’s security. Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa related the worst situation of law and order to refugees. He stated that the attackers have links with refugees. They facilitated the terrorist while the security organization failed to track down (Aaj, December 25, 2914). Newspapers endorsed the Chief Minister statement and wrote that due to corruption and mismanagements in NADRA (National Database and Registration Authority), the refugees made national identity cards of Pakistan. That’s why security organization couldn’t recognize them. Aaj newspaper placed the Chief Minister stated in a front-page headline.
The newspapers (Daily Aaj, Daily Express, Daily the News International and Daily DAWN) portray refugees as suspected people. When police captured some people, these newspapers wrote, “Police captured 50 suspected people while 25 of them were Afghan refugees.” The newspaper tried to portray Afghan refugees suspected as compare to other people. The main purpose of this specification is to highlight to the readers that Afghan refugees are involved in negative activities, that’s why police have arrested them. Daily Aaj, Daily Express stated that the ratio of crime has increased after refugees arrived.
These newspapers compare the situation of Pakistan and Iran during the Soviet Union army entered Afghanistan and argued that the Iran government restricted refugees in camps and a specifics area. After the defeat of Russia in Afghanistan, they send back refugees to Afghanistan. But Pakistan allowed them to move everywhere in the country and operate business activities as well. Pakistan now faces the consequences of those policies.
Security Problems Liked to Refugees
Media’s opinion: Afghan Refugees destroy law and orders.
After the analysis of these newspapers, they have blamed refugees for the worst situation of law and order. According to an article in Daily Aaj states, “The situation of law and order in Pakistan is already worst, if the problem of Afghan refugees not dealt properly, its consequences will be more disastrous.” It connected the law-and-order situation with refugees and highlighted them as a threat. On December 21, five days after Army Public School attack, Daily Aaj wrote an editorial after the press conference of Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as, “The deadline for Afghan refugees”. The newspaper mentioned that “the provincial cabinet supports the bill of Inspector General Police while on the same day when the cabinet was busy in the decision about Afghan refugees and law and order situation in the province.” The issue in this editorial is the situation of law and order and Afghan refugees were linked together. It gives an impression to the reader that the unsatisfactory situation of law and order is because of Afghan refugees.
In an article in Daily Express “The Pakistani Afghans”, the writer quotes the governmental agencies who blame the Afghan refugees for destroying the law-and-order situation in Pakistan.” The beginning statement shows to the readers about his next opinion, which is to justify government agencies treatment.
Terrorism and Refugees
Refugees are the reason for the increase in terrorism and as Facilitator of terrorists.
Pakistan is facing terrorism for decades. This terrorism is the result of Pakistani policy towards Afghanistan. People cannot be blamed for the government’s policies, but the newspapers and article writers blamed refugees for terrorism in Pakistan. Afghan refugees have been linked with terrorists, and it is argued that they have facilitated the terrorists. Terrorism is increasing because of the existing of Afghan refugees. This frame is repeated more than any other frame. If it is talked about facilitators, the army officials like Doctor Usman were also the facilitator of terrorists, but no newspaper can talk about him.
The Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa stated that the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa could not wait till December 2015, because the Afghan refugees are involved in terrorism. The increase in terrorism is also due to refugees.” The very important and effective person in the province categorically said that terrorists are facilitated by Afghan refugees. The terrorists reached everywhere with the help of these “friends”. After the arrival of refugees, terrorism has increased. This statement influenced the thinking of many article writers. One of those writers argued in his article in Daily Express, “The Pakistani Afghan’s”. He writes that “According to the information, Afghan refugees have facilitated the attack of Army Public School”, but he didn’t show the source of information. He argued that it’s not confirmed, but some people say that Afghan refugees have facilitated the Army Public School (APS) attack.
Another writer argues in Daily Aaj about Afghan refugees “Defense Demands”. He says that “We didn’t see any successful policy of provincial government about the repatriation of Afghan refugees. It’s very much expected that the people who have linked with organized crimes and terrorists have weapons as well.” In this article, the writer blames the government for only a theoretical approach to refugees. He warns the government that the refugees have weapons; if the government implements the policy, there will be resistance from a refugee. The writer also highlights that refugees have weapons which are bad for law and order.
One article in Daily Aaj states, “due to the implementation of American policy in the time of refugee’s arrivals in Pakistan, the Pakistani government gave them free hands to move in the whole country. The implication of those policies has to stand Pakistan at the bank of the river and named Pakistan as slaughters home. The refugees bring extremism, sectarianism, gun culture and drugs (Heroin) in the whole country which destroyed Pakistan’s law and order.” He writes about the American policies in the Afghan war. Pakistan was allaying in the war with America. He is criticizing the American policy for Pakistan during Afghan war 1979. Refugees came in the result of war, and they move in Pakistan easily. According to writer refugees bring sectarianism, extremism, gun culture and drugs in Pakistan from Afghanistan. Pakistan allowed their movement while refugees take it to the whole country.
DAWN published a story which asked to upgrade security at sensitive buildings. The reporter connected the up-gradation of security with Afghan refugees and argued that the Interior Ministry officials raised Pak Afghan border movement and the repatriation of Afghan refugees to their home in the meeting. It means that the government didn’t upgrade their security until the Afghan refugees exist in Pakistan.
The provincial cabinet of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa held a press conference and raised an issue of Afghan refugees. “The cabinet also asked the federal government to prepare a plan to shift registered Afghan refugees from different cities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to designated camps, within one month, alleging that Afghan nationals were involved in criminal activities.” Dawn, 21 December 2014.
There are two types of refugees in Pakistan, registers and unregisters refugees. The decision of cabinet was to send all registers refugees to camps. They want to restrict the movement of the refugees because according to the writer, refugees are involved in criminal activities.
The Economic Frame
The Chief Minister of the province is the head of the provincial government; that’s why the refugee’s discussion got importance in the main discourse after his statement. The newspapers mentioned that refugees destroy the infrastructure of the province. Newspapers argue that infrastructures built by Pakistani authorities were purely for their own population and due to the influx of Afghan refugees, it has overburdened like hospital and educational institutes etc. Aaj newspaper wrote an editorial “Demand about refugees” on December 23, 2014. They quoted the statement of Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that “Refugees affects the province economy and also an extra load on province infrastructure that’s why the industrial activities have weakened.”
The main theme of these newspapers’ articles considered refugees as a burden on the economy of Pakistan. They give examples of Health and education sectors, which were overloaded because of refugees. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has a smaller number of industries as compared to other provinces of Pakistan. The people rely on small business in the region. When refugees arrived in the province, they captured the small business from the local people, like transport, shop, property etc. These newspapers also mentioned that Afghan refugees are found more tax evasive as compare to local businessmen which inflict losses to the government exchequer.
The articles in Aaj and Express give suggestions to the government about the policy of refugees. The first suggestion was to call an All-Party Conference (APC) and make policy for the refugees. It should be discussed and scheduled as the Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, media and writers have focused on it. Therefore, the decision should be taken according to the goals of the National Action Plan (NAP). The conclusion of these suggestions is to send back refugees to their home because they are a danger to the peace of the homeland of Pakistan and be placed in their home country.
Burdon on Province’s weak economy
Imran Khan, the Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI), a political party who led the government in KPK, talked to media after visiting of Army Public School Peshawar. He said that “1.7 million Afghan refugees residing illegally in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had increased the burden on the provincial government.” (The News International).
Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Parvaiz Khatak held a press conference in Nowshehra, stated that “Afghan refugees should limit to refugee’s camps because the hospitality of these refugees affected the economy of the province. The federal government should make a formula for the repatriation of Afghan refugees because the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cannot tolerate the burden on their economy anymore.”
Chief Minister wants to limited refugees at camps because the movement of refugees affected the province economy. He gave a suggestion to the federal government to make policy for the repatriation of refugees.
According to an article Published in Aaj Newspaper, “One province tolerates the burden of refugees since 1979; this burden should be now shifted to other provinces of Pakistan.” According to the writer, refugees are a problem which is being faced by only one province.
Refugees Destroy Resources of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
1. Afghan refugees destroy infrastructure and resources of the province (Health, Education, Trades, tourism, foreign investment etc.)
2. Refugees hold the province trades and increasing unemployment (transport, property etc.)
The article published in Daily Aaj, “The problem of Afghan refugee’s return” argued that “Due to bad economy, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has a lake of big industries while the small trades of the province were captured by Afghan refugees. It’s also a factor of unemployment in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Transport and property sector are completely in the hands of refugees.”
Daily Aaj mentions that “three million Afghan refugees entered Pakistan and they destroy the infrastructure of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Baluchistan and FATA. They are also burdened on the Trades, Education, Health and overall Economy in the province.”