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Afghan refugees asked to vacate Jallozai camp by June 30
18. May 2006, 16:44

NOWSHERA (The News) - Despite opposition from a large number of Afghan refugees, announcements were made through mosque loudspeakers in the sprawling Jallozai camp near Pabbi on Thursday, asking the camp refugees to vacate it by June 25.

The announcements were made during a visit of the Afghan refugees administrator for the area, Maqbool Shah Roghani, to the camp. He spoke to about 50 elders and commanders at the camp and reminded them that they had failed to vacate the Jallozai camp by the agreed date of April 30. He said the camp must be vacated by June 30 and the refugees could either return to Afghanistan or shift to camps in Kohat, Bannu and Chakdarra.

Maqbool Shah Roghani told the camp elders that Afghan refugees camps in Katcha Garhi and Shamshatoo were also being closed. He said the camps were being closed under agreements between Pakistan, Afghanistan and the UN.

A government official, Allahdad, later made announcements about the closure of the camp in different mosques. The announcement annoyed many Afghan refugees, who demanded extension in their stay at the camp due to insecurity, lack of housing and jobs in Afghanistan.

The Jallozai camp has a population of 120,000. It was learnt that about 5,000 households in the camp belonging to the Paktia, Paktika and Kunar provinces in Afghanistan were opposing its closure and their repatriation or shifting to other camps.

Maulana Abdul Qayyum, who belongs to the eastern Kunar province, has been very vocal in resisting closure of the camp. He and his supporters accused the authorities of going back on their promises to let them stay longer in Jallozai due to insecurity in Afghanistan.

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