According to latest media reports, all arrangements have been completed near Arandu border to accommodate 1,200 Afghan family refugees. The people of Chitral have already shown their reservations and its possible negative impacts on our society and economy.
According to the latest census, the total population of Chitral (upper and lower) is about 0.5 million. If there is an influx of 1,200 families from Afghanistan, we should expect at least 100,000 refugees.
In such a brief and short time, the influx of so many people is quite a formidable number for Chitral, which is one of the most remote and backward areas of Pakistan. We don’t have any factories due to which job creation in Chitral is a huge problem. Our economic condition is vulnerable while our infrastructure is the poorest in Pakistan.
I don’t know what policies and strategy have been finalized and executed by our policymakers in this regard. There is a one billion dollar question: Will these people will be just confined in their shelters or they will be allowed to mix and mingled with the rest of the population in Chitral.
The gravity of the situation demands that a special financial package should be announced be the centre so that we can improve our poor infrastructure and, similarly, the youth of Chitral should be given financial assistance to start their own businesses. We can only cope with this challenge if we make the people of Chitral economically strong.
There should be a national government giving representation to all ethnic groups of Afghanistan. If the security situation in Afghanistan will be stabilized insha Allah we expect an early exit of these Afghan refugees returning to there country.