Conference on Refugee crisis and its ramifications for global &
national security held
Chitral Times Report
Islamabad: The refugee problem is an affair of critical
importance for Pakistan since the last three or more decades now.
It has impacted the economic and the security structure of the
country. So the world needs to deal with these humanitarian and
military components simultaneously to resolve this crisis.
The time has come that the world must look at the Global Refugee
crisis afresh. New solutions are required if we are to bring the
populations of the world which are under threat and crisis out of
perpetual conflict and war. Dr. Sultan was speaking at the SASSI
conference. 60,000 people from Afghanistan enter Pakistan on daily
basis, she added.
Dr Maria Sultan, Chairperson and Director-General of South Asian
Strategic Stability Institute (SASSI) University, stated this while
speaking on the second day of a two-day international conference on
‘Refugee Crisis and Its Ramifications for Global & National
Security’ here Tuesday.
Addressing the conference organized by SASSI, the Minister for
Information and Broadcasting Pervez Rashid said the whole world is
experiencing refugee crisis more severe than anything it has seen
in decades. He regretted that the world failed to cover an
important issue, the arrival of Afghan refugees to Pakistan. The
increased misunderstanding between the Taliban and Afghan
government has resulted in the escalation of conflict between the
two, which led to in the displacement of Afghan population, forcing
them to take shelter in Pakistan.
The Minister for Information said Pakistan is making sincere
efforts in bringing the Taliban to the negotiations table and
supporting the quadrilateral Afghan peace talks, but in the end, it
will be the Afghan government which will lead the process as it
must be Afghan-owned and Afghan-led. He this is being done to help
the Afghan government achieve lasting peace in the country.
Pervez Rashid said the peace zone should be established in
Afghanistan close to Pak-Afghan border so that people are not
forced to migrate to Pakistan but could be saved from becoming
refugees. He also urged help for Afghanistan in the post-conflict
reconstruction. World community, regional states along with the
international organizations should help Afghanistan in establishing
this peace zone to create economic opportunities and impart skills
to the war-threatened population. “We need peaceful world and
Speaking on the occasion, National Security Adviser Lt. Gen (Retd)
Nasir Khan Janjua said that word “Refugee” comes to him with lot of
pain, suffering, agony, anguish, distress and misery.
Questioning that why nations go to war, the National Security
Adviser referred to a quote that “All wars are to seek peace.” He
also asked where the peace is. Rather the world is becoming
insecure. He lamented that Afghan children have not seen peace ever
since the Russian invasion. “We find no end to this war. The whole
Arab world is put on fire without thinking about the human
suffering, and will continue to bleed for another 50 years,” he
Lt. Gen (Retd) Janjua said the perpetual war in Afghanistan, the
preparation of India as a counterweight and the nuclearisation of
the Indian Ocean should be condemned as these factors are
disturbing the equilibrium of national, regional and global peace,
particularly of South Asia. So, he emphasized that the efforts made
to seek war must be foiled.
On the issue of Afghan refugees, the National Security Adviser said
Pakistan has sacrificed maximum for Afghanistan and shared its
bread, homes, land and infrastructure. “We didn’t ask for the
invasion when the Soviets came to Afghanistan; we didn’t ask for
9/11 but we again stood with the world but it has earned us a bad
name,” he emphasized.
Pakistan’s National Security Adviser said there is an absence of
border management and more than 26,000-km border between Pakistan
and Afghanistan lies without any kind of barriers or walls so
border management and appeasement rights should be seriously
“We are trying to play our role for peace and I am sure together we
have a shared future and we will connect as a gateway to the world
including Central Asia and China,” he said. “Those who have the
power need to sit down and revisit their thinking and strategies
which have injured the world,” he stressed.
Maj. Gen Noel Israel Khokhar, Director-General ISSRA at the
NationalDefenceUniversity, stressed: “We should look at the nature
of crisis and should resolve it in a better manner through learning
from the past experiences as this is a complex issue.”
Dr Imran Zeb Khan, Chief Commissioner for Afghan refugees, defined
three aspects — burden sharing, dealing with the new displacements
and looking for the long-term solutions to the refugee problem.
Saying that it has been 37 years since Pakistan is hosting Afghan
refugees, he called for not attributing the terrorism, drug culture
and Kalashnikov culture to Afghan refugees.
Clearing another misperception, Dr Imran Zeb Khan said that Afghan
people want to go back to their country as they even bury their
dead ones in Afghanistan. “Refugees should be sent back to
Afghanistan voluntarily and in a sustainable manner. We have to
bring the refugee law in Pakistan. We have to provide them the
youth empowerment to ensure that they go on the positive sides and
don’t go to terrorism or other negative sides as Afghanistan has
ISIS and other terrorist organizations networks,” he emphasized.
Maj. Gen Khawar Haneef, former Director General of Pakistan’s
Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF), focused on the regional situation and
national security of Pakistan. About drug production, he said, “74%
of the World’s Opium is coming from Afghanistan. All the opium in
Pakistan is coming from Afghanistan and though Afghan president
assured to control opium production, still it is being cultivated
“Pakistan has thus become a transit route for drug trafficking due
to the porous border, easement rights, overall law and order
situation, peer pressure affecting the youth, below par performance
of law-enforcement agencies and the free movement of people between
Afghanistan and Pakistan,” he said. “There is a need to stop inflow
of drugs from Afghanistan. International cooperation, drug demand
reduction and drug supply reduction is needed.”
Rahimullah Yusufzai, a senior journalist and expert on Afghan
affairs, focused on Afghan refugees in Pakistan and said that
Pakistan’s efforts for hosting the largest refugees are not
acknowledged. “We have third generation of Afghan refugees living
Lt Gen (Retd) Hamid Khan, former crops commander of Peshawar, said
when a developed country became the victim of refugee crisis, then
the world diverted its attention to this important issue which has
been an issue in Third World countries for decades. He said the
challenges faced by refugees in host countries which includes
trauma of leaving their homeland, travelling and the language issue
should be keenly addressed.
He also mentioned the acceptance of the refugees flowing to their
borders and availability of infrastructure as the challenges faced
by host countries. He recommended the host countries to maintain a
detailed record of refugees; allow them freedom of movement; and
integrate them in their population.Otherwise, he said, the
humanitarian safe zones should be established in the countries of
refugees so that they become IDPs rather than refugees.
Rustam Shah Mohmand, former Ambassador to Afghanistan, said that no
law would give Afghan refugees the authority or citizenship to live
in Pakistan so refugee law should be framed. He emphasized that
Pakistan should stop the harassment of refugees, create safer
enclaves in Afghanistan, stabilize the border with the help of
international community and should make a vigorous political
intervention in Afghanistan to deal with the situation in a proper
Atif Saeed Channa, principal of GuardsPublicCollege, said the
Western anti-immigration policy makes refugee intake difficult but
yet refugees are reaching there. He said that taking large number
of refugees requiressteps against the backlash of Islamophobia in
Greek Ambassador to Pakistan Dimitrios Zoitossaid his country feels
overwhelmed by the refugees because of the perceived threat that
some of them might be terrorists and it has severely impacted the
Greek economy which is still in the recession for the last six
years. He said the bulk of the refugees come from Syria, Iraq and
Libya while smaller number of refugees are from Afghanistan,
Pakistan and Yemen. Moreover, the bulk of the refugees travelling
by sea are being dealt by either Greece or Italy.
Offering solutions, the Greek ambassador said it should be dealt by
the international community as a global crisis. He also suggested
that the countries outside of Europe like Australia, the US and
Japan as well as rich Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia along with
Gulf countries should host the refugees.
Ihsan Ghani, former national coordinator of the National
Counterterrorism Authority (NACTA), said Pakistan continues hosting
the world’s largest refugee population with most of it being
undocumented. “No short-term fixes can resolve the situation. There
is a need to break the myths and misperceptions about the Afghan
refugees. No refugee is above the law of the host country.
Confidence-buildingmeasures are crucial to continuing long-term
relations between the two countries. Ultimate solution lies in
Afghanistan through sustainable reintegration of refugees with
Amir Zulfiqar, Deputy Inspector General Operations of the Punjab
Police, said there are major issues for the Police. He said the
first one is to know whether an Afghan is registered or not as
Afghan people know the routes through which they do smuggling and
then some get fake Pakistan identity cards which add to the
difficulty of police.
Saleem Safi, a journalist, said: “We are the contributors who
brought Afghan refugees as a burden for ourselves as they were
permitted to have licenses of Kalashnikovs which Pakistanis were
not allowed.”The analyst said that Afghan refugees are contributing
towards the economy of Pakistan, some are living in Pakistan
legally, others are undocumented, some have made Pakistani identity
cards through the facilitation of regional Pakistani governments
and others are fighting against Pakistan at the behest of the
intelligence agencies working against Pakistan.
About the solutions to refugee crisis, he said that integration is
not the solution because it is against the dignity of Afghanistan
and would question its stability.Secondly, he said, it will provide
an incentive to new Afghan for coming to Pakistan, which is not
affordable for Pakistan.
Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Dr. Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal thanked the
people of Pakistan for their patience, tolerance and hospitality
towards Afghan refugees. “Refugee life is not an easy one because
it’s someone who is driven out and whose life has become difficult.
As a refugee, I can tell you if there are ways to return to a place
where I can call myself a citizen of that country,I will give up
the life of difficulty,” he said.
The Afghan ambassador said the refugees could be used as a source
to strengthen the relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan and
the two governments should change the situation through providing
them proper channels for the refugees to return to their homeland.
Dr. Jehanzeb Jamaldini, a senator from Balochistan, said the
refugee crisis is a global phenomenon and the conflict of the
international forces has forced many people to become the refugees.
He said there is disruption and chaos in the areas where the
refugees have gone globally. He said that Afghan refugees are
causing demographic change in Pakistan, especially in Balochistan.
He urged the international community and UNHCR to make the
repatriation of Afghan refugees possible.