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Afghan Refugees Laud PM Khan For Allowing Them To Open Bank Accounts

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PESHAWAR: Government of Pakistan allowed registered Afghan Refugees in Pakistan to open bank accounts in the country on February 25, a move that is being lauded by refugees in the country who thank Prime Minister Imran Khan for his gesture.

The announcement was made by PM Khan via his Twitter account. Khan said in his tweet that instructions have been issued that registered Afghan refugees be allowed to open bank accounts in the country.

The prime minster said, “this gesture will help the Afghan citizen to participate in formal economy of Pakistan”. “This initiative should have been done very long ago for the Afghan refugees in Pakistan,” Khan said.

29-year-old Daulat khan is an Afghan national living as a refugee in urban area of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa. He is running grocery store at the outreach of Hayatabad, Peshawar. Being a refugee in Pakistan, he was unable to have any bank account to keep his money.

“I was not allowed to open any account to keep my cash secure in a bank”, he said, adding that he had to keep all of the business money either at home or in a friend’s bank account.

Among many other Afghan refugees in Pakistan, Sabooun Khan is also welcoming the PM Khan’s decision. He said “This is one of the good gestures to make us feel safe and facilitate us in the country”. “Not only will we be able to save our money but also contribute in Pakistani’s economic prosperity,” he added.

Pakistan is among the countries which are hosting one of the largest Afghan refugee population of 2.4 million, both registered and unregistered.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi deemed the decision of as a positive effort by saying that “I commend the prime minster and people of Pakistan for taking such important decision in support of Afghans living in Pakistan. He also deemed that it’s a forward-looking, generous gesture of solidarity of global significance.

“It is an excellent step of Pakistan’s government to help Afghan refugees by reclaiming their dignity”, said Amnesty International South Asia on February 26, 2019.  The human rights organizations across the world praised the government’s move saying, “when the entire world is turning their backs on refugees, the Pakistan government is facilitating them in its country”.

According to the UNHCR, Pakistan is hosting more than 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees including those who fled Afghanistan and their children who were born in Pakistan. However, approximately 70 % Afghan refugees living in Pakistan are connected to business sector.

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