82pc Afghan refugees residing in KPK, Balochistan: UNHCR

ISLAMABAD: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan accommodating 82 percent Afghan refugees including 62 percent KPK and 20 percent residing in Balochistan province, says a United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) report.

According to report,11 percent Afghan refugee are residing in Punjab, 4 percent in Sindh, 2 percent in Islamabad and less than 1 percent are living in Azad Kashmir.

Only 32 percent Afghan refugees are residing in remaining 54 refugee villages. The majority of Afghan nationals are ethnically Pashtun 86 percent, followed by Tajiks 6 percent, Uzbeks 2 percent and others 6 percent.

Children and youth (up to 24 years of age) constitute 64 percent of the Afghan refugee population in Pakistan, the majority of whom were born in Pakistan in the second or third generation.

At present, 68 percent of the total number of refugees are residing in (semi-) urban settings which are scattered across Pakistan

While the infrastructure built in refugee villages over many years facilitates access of refugees to basic services, the knowledge of refugees living outside of refugee villages about available services remains limited.

Speaking to APP on Tuesday an official of UNHCR said Pakistan has generously hosted the world's largest refugee population for three decades and it was essential to mobilise more support from the international community to sustain efforts such as the Refugee Affected and Hosting Areas (Raha) initiative, which is a way of thanking the hosts of these refugees.

It is pertinent mention here that according to UNHCR Pakistan hosting the 1.6 million registered Afghan Refugees, which a largest number of refugees in the world.