Pakistan screening of Afghans resumes
UNHCR yesterday resumed the joint screening of thousands of Afghans in Jalozai and Nasir Bagh camps in north-west Pakistan, following a meeting with senior Pakistan officials during which the question of deportations was discussed and resolved.
In a meeting held at the request of UNHCR in Islamabad, the Secretary in the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas and States and Frontiers Regions (SAFRON), Shafqat Ezdi Shah, reiterated Pakistan's full commitment to the screening agreement, and assured UNHCR that no deportations will take place during the screening process.
UNHCR had suspended the screening exercise on Friday after 28 Afghan families from Jalozai were deported to Afghanistan by the provincial authorities earlier in the week. Among those deported were women, infants, elderly people and unaccompanied children.
The SAFRON officials expressed humanitarian concerns about the deported families, especially the unaccompanied minors. UNHCR plans to hold further discussions with the Pakistani authorities on the fate of the deported families this week.
Over 100,000 Afghans have been pre-screened since the process started on August 6. The second phase of screening began on August 29.