The refugee status of Afghanis in Pakistan expires following a six month extension of the previous expiration deadline.
Pakistan has been receiving Afghan refugees for the past three decades, since the invasion of the Soviet Union to Afghanistan and the conflicts that have followed.
A refugee status allows individuals to attain a government ID card, which they then can use for everyday activities like obtaining a bank account or registering for school.
According to a government statement, 1.6 million Afghan refugees are officially registered, whilst another million remain unregistered.
The Islamabad government has said that following the deadline expiry refugees will not be forcibly evicted. Rather, the deadline is only meant to encourage people to return to Afghanistan. However, many refugees claim that their home country is still too dangerous and poor for them to consider a return.
The deadline expiration would not necessarily affect unregistered refugees since they are considered to be illegal residents. However, it remains to be seen whether people will prefer to return to Afghanistan or whether the number of illegal refugees would rise as people decide to stay behind.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has encouraged the Pakistani government to allow some asylum space for the transitional period that follows.
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