Since 1979, Pakistan is hosting millions of Afghan refugees despite fact that Pakistan is neither a signatory to the UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (the Geneva Convention) nor to the Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees of 31 January, 1967.
Given the traditional mixed nature of cross-border movement in the region, Pakistan also hosts documented and undocumented Afghans who left their country in search of economic opportunity or access to basic services.
Unlike refugee practices in other regional and western host communities, majority of Afghan Refugees in Pakistan reside in urban and Pri-urban areas, outside of refugee villages and settlement, relying on national public services that are available to them.
Despite its own challenges and the needs of their own populations, Pakistan has upheld its international protection obligations and pursued non-discriminatory polices towards Afghan refugee, notably in areas of education, health care and human capital development.
Pakistan’s progressive approach is further evident in the inclusion of Afghan Refugees in the Government’s national response plans to the COVID-19 pandemic, including vaccination- a service denied to majority of refugees in many European countries.
Pakistan’s undeterred hosting of almost 1.3million registered Afghan refugees is an unparalleled shouldering of a large of the world’s collective responsibility to protect them.
Government of Pakistan (GoP) in collaboration with various non-profit organization has created many livelihood opportunities through provision of access to market-oriented training which led to economic uplift for Afghan Refugees. Social and economic integration of project beneficiaries aims to protest the rights of Afghan refugees and their host communities.
Other than a few exceptions, there are many settled Afghan refugees who acknowledge that Pakistan is their home and local people friendly.
Many of the refugees in Pakistan run small business or do petty jobs and send remittance to their family members who remain across the border.