Afghan crisis: Not a single person granted refugee status till now, says Sheikh Rashid

Statesman Report

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid said on Monday that Pakistan had not granted refugee status to a single person from Afghanistan till now, amid the evacuation of foreigners and Afghans following the Taliban takeover of Kabul.

Speaking on a possible refugee influx during a press conference in Islamabad, Rashid said despite one being expected, “not one person has been granted refugee status till now […] not one refugee has been given permission […] Pakistan has not taken one person as a Muhajir till now.”

Referring to Thursday’s suicide attack outside Kabul’s airport that killed at least 169 Afghans and 13 US service members, he said: “We expected that a flood [of refugees] can come […] but it didn’t occur”.

The interior minister said Pakistan was a “responsible country” that would fulfil its duty of national security and its international expectations, adding that it had “made history” in facilitating the Afghan peace process.

Responding to a question on Pakistanis repatriated from Afghanistan, Rashid said: “All Pakistanis have been evacuated. Between 30 to 40 people do not want to come because they married over there, have families and children and said they are happy there.”

Rashid also provided updates on Pakistan’s facilitation of evacuees from Afghanistan, saying 1,627 people had been flown in, while another 2,100 had been granted on-arrival visas at the Torkham border.