Coping with the refugee spillover
The change in Kabul is bound to have consequences. It has triggered anxiety in all neighbours of Afghanistan. Pakistan says that five to seven lakh new refugees can cross into its territory. It says that it has made arrangements to cope with the expected inflow. There are three likely crossing points, where the spillover can occur. The first and by far the biggest crossing point is near the Torkham border. It is the former tribal Khyber Agency, which is now the merged Khyber District. The second crossing point is the Ghulam Khan border, which is farther up in the north. The refugee camps can be set up in North Waziristan. The third crossing point is Arandu in Chitral. If the need arises, camps can also be set up there. These sites have been identified by the Commissionerate for Afghan Refugees. Commissioner for Afghan Refugees, Abbas Khan, has said that Pakistan has decided not to allow any more refugees. However, in case of any human tragedy, Pakistan is fully prepared for it. The manner in which we dealt with the refugee crisis between 1979 and 2021, is known to all. It did not show that we were fully prepared. On paper, these preparations appear excellent. Just as the statements also sound humanitarian. However, the fact of the matter is that the economy of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province or the economy of the country itself is not in good shape. Our own people are overstressed with inflation and the high prices of food. The question may be harsh and a little too early also, but how on earth will we feed the seven lakh more mouths?