The Afghan Refuges In Islamabad!

Pakistan housed 2 million Afghan refugees, more than any other country. Not an insignificant number, when you consider that 144 million people make up the entire population of Pakistan. Worldwide there are 5million refugees. In Islamabad there are very few, as they cannot afford to live in such an expensive place.
(Source: office of the UNHCR and the US census bureau)

The afghan refuges in Islamabad are living a hard life where they are fighting for a piece of bread every day. I have never seen humanity humiliated like this, the way they are in here. Take an example from any country where we live as immigrants or visitors. We have to live according to the rules of that country. Even if a slightest thing goes against our will, we create hell of a noise. Even though, we are living a life in quite a decent and respected way. At that moment, do we think of those who are humiliated in our country as foreigners, especially those who are not powerful enough to fight for their rights?

Most of the refugees are homeless and jobless in Islamabad. Few refugees can find work, and, if they do, it is rare to earn more than 20 rupees a day. Meanwhile, one nan (Pakistani bread) costs from 3 to 5 rupees. Imagine with six or seven children how one can manage to provide food to his family.

The afghan refuges here in Islamabad are mostly living in G-9 sector. Few of them are settled well but most of them, I have seen, are sitting in a circle in front of a chapatti shop (bread shop) waiting for their turn to get a piece of chapatti. Is this what humanity is for, to live for a piece of bread? Every day I see them sitting out there on the footpath. The children are becoming baggers. Their mothers send them to the cars, parked in the market, to ask for money, it is nerve-racking when they keep on asking for money.

In G-9, the refugees own some of the restaurants. Who, in the evening, give afghani nan (bread) to the women and children sitting on the footpath, waiting for it. The restaurant food is too good. The special afghani kebab and, that, long chapattis are delicious. There is a big afghani restaurant in F-7 too.

These people are, with the passage of time, trying to get use to the situation they are living in. The least we can offer to do, to try not to scold the children wandering around the streets asking for food or money. Help the men and women in anyway possible to make them feel comfortable here, as they have already suffered a lot.

6 Comments so far

  1. Phil (unregistered) on October 8th, 2006 @ 2:03 am

    Yes, Ghalia Aymen, the situation is dire. But you also have to consider the already present crisis in Pakistan of over population, add to that refugee from a war-torn country that have little or no education come into a country trying to make ends meet.

    Especially in Ramadan its quite heart-wrenching to see these people out in the streets and begging like that. Only today I was talking to a friend that how the Arabian’s have taken over the city, and the Afghanis have pleasantly left Islamabad. But I was wronged when I saw two to three families speaking Farsi and dressed conservatively like Afghani’s.

    Pakistan and Islamabad has always been very generous towards its Muslim neighbours, but there should be a time when we need to draw a line and start thinking about our own problems, rather than invite lots more.

    Pakistan itself should not be responsible for the education, health care, housing, employment and welfare of refugees. Agreed that alot of Pakistani’s seek greener pastures in other countries but they also get their behinds kicked alot. They are considered the worst immigrants all over the world – even in Muslim nations like Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. Pakistan is not an industrialized nation like England or Germany, yet we ask to take care of people that have little to help themselves with. Even in industrialized nations, Pakistani’s living there are mal-treated – and mind you there is a huge difference of attitude towards people of Pakistani nationality and toward the people with Pakistani origin.

    My 2 cents.


  2. ghalia (unregistered) on October 8th, 2006 @ 2:08 am

    thanks for even saving 2 cents for them. these two cents can bring great change in their life:)


  3. ghalia (unregistered) on October 8th, 2006 @ 2:16 am

    yes phil i agree that pkaistan is not in a position. everyone knows that. than why donotthe government stop them from coming here. why the borders are open if we cannot afford to have them.does america act like that to the pakistanis. when we r there we also ask for every right.than why can’t afghani people have that over here?

    if we want to keep them we have to respect them and give thema respectable place in society,otherwise send them back to their homes


  4. Phil (unregistered) on October 8th, 2006 @ 5:10 am

    I have very same concern’s my friend, very same! The gov should do more atleast in one direction!


  5. Yahya (unregistered) on October 10th, 2006 @ 6:29 am

    Its very easy for populous to look at the smaller picture and start fighting among themselves. If however they ask the question where are the billions of rupees gone (both from internal income and external aid) and why have billions of loans were written off and still being written off then they realise that population is not the problem but rather misuse of resources.

    Every person that comes to Pakistan has to work for his living (no social security like Europe) i.e. present his skills/services against the money he receives. He then buys the necessities which in turn increase the demand on factories/mills causing more employment often of Pakistani nationals.


  6. ghalia (unregistered) on October 11th, 2006 @ 3:15 am

    what i know yahaya is that we have tried relaying on government we ain’t do anything until or unless we have democracy in our country. but that should also not bother as long as our country progress economicaly.

    what we can do as antion is take a littel step and try to help them in any way we can. u r talking about giving them jobs…when the pakistani nationals don’t get jobs how can u expect afghani people to be employed.

    yes our government is eating all the money we get as an aid for the refuges or may be it would be fair to say that they r not spending enough out of it.

    we as people of pakistan should ask the government about the revenues. we just leave it to eachother. same as some one wants help n we think that someone else will help n everyone leave him behind thinking the same way. so ain’t we to be blamed?



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