Pakistan extends refugee status for Afghans
The Islamabad government has said it will not forcibly evict Afghans, many of whom have children born and raised in Pakistan. However, revoking their refugee status would encourage people to return.
Refugee status allows Afghans to get a government ID card that they use for everyday activities like banking or registering for school.
In a statement, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees welcomed the extension but pointed out the uncertainty for Afghan refugees.
"While the six month extension is important, Afghan refugees will be left wondering what the future has in store in July 2013 and beyond. UNHCR will therefore continue to encourage the government to maintain asylum space in the challenging transitional period ahead," said Neill Wright, the U.N. agency's Pakistan representative.
The U.N. agency has said that 83,000 Afghans have gone back this year, a 40 percent increase in those returning to their homeland compared to 2011. The U.N. has been spearheading a program this year designed to help Afghan refugees return to their homeland.