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ISLAMABAD, October 5, 2016: The United Nations says more than 200,000 Afghan refugees have returned to their war-torn country from Pakistan this year, more than half of them within the past five weeks, despite intensification in Taliban-led hostilities in Afghanistan.
The overall figures represent the highest number since 2007 when more than 360,000 refugees went back to Afghanistan under the UNHCR-sponsored voluntary repatriation program, officials noted.
Several factors are contributing to the unusual rise in the number of Afghan families choosing repatriation, but the exodus is “largely voluntary,” says Dunya Khan, a UNHCR spokesperson in Pakistan.
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In addition, she says Pakistan introduced a new border management system in early June to regulate movement and discourage illegal crossers on its nearly 2,600-kilometer porous frontier with Afghanistan.
Khan says the new border controls require Afghans to carry valid travel documents and visas to enter Pakistan, prompting around 6,000 Afghans to go back every day.
“There were many (refugee) families who were split in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Many heads of the families were working in Afghanistan and coming to Pakistan to visit their families. Since the travel has been regularised, therefore, the majority of the Afghans think that for every trip it is not really possible to get a visa, and they have decided to go back to Afghanistan,” Khan explained.
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Pakistan still hosts about 1.5-million registered Afghan refugees, while another estimated one million are living illegally.
For decades, Afghans were moving across the border on special permits, without any restrictions or Pakistani visas.
But rising tensions between the two countries over mutual terror allegations have prompted Islamabad to tighten the cross-border movement, saying it will help deter terrorist infiltration and ease bilateral tensions.
The undocumented Afghans are currently subjected to a Pakistani police crackdown, apparently to push them to go back to their country.
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Authorities say the illegal Afghan community, and in some cases even registered refugee populations, are being used by anti-state elements to plot terrorist attacks in Pakistan.
Khan says the UNHCR decision to double the cash grant for voluntary returnees from $200 to $400 per person in mid-June, and a newly-launched campaign by the Afghan government to encourage its displaced citizens to return to their country are also contributing factors for speeding up the voluntary repatriation process.
“The government of Afghanistan, for the first time, has proactively started advocating for Afghan refugees to come back to their country and take part in the nation-building process, and many Afghan people now feel that connection and the warm welcome which is being extended to them,” Khan noted.
The Pakistan government has been pushing Kabul to arrange for the return of nearly all Afghans because it insists their presence has put pressure on infrastructure and the local economy, which has increasingly upset host communities.
Under the policy, Islamabad has declined to agree to an Afghan request for extending the legal stay of refugees for two years. The government has only recently given the registered Afghans until next March to go back to Afghanistan, a long-delayed deadline.
Khan says the delayed announcement increased anxiety and insecurity among Afghan refugees, prompting many families to rush back to their country.
She added while UNHCR has not documented any significant instances in which registered refugees have faced police harassment and coercion, but such actions against undocumented Afghans have generally scared the displaced community.
U.N. officials estimate more than one million people will be on the move in Afghanistan by the end of this year because of displacements the Afghan conflict is causing and because of the large number of refugee families returning to Pakistan and Iran.
The Afghan government is also under pressure from the European Union to take back tens of thousands Afghan migrants seeking asylum there. (VOA)
By Monika Manchanda
Eating seasonal and locally available fruit has many health benefits ranging from reducing sugar and inflammation levels to fighting high blood pressure -- thanks to their abundant vitamins and mineral presence! They are a powerhouse of antioxidants like vitamins A, B, C, E, and minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, and fiber.
The fruits listed below are not just diabetic-friendly but are loaded with fiber and water content which can slow down the sugar spikes and sugar absorption rate. Apples are not just nutritious and filling; According to a study, they are significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes if consumed in moderation. Turns out there is a truth in the old saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away", after all!
Star fruit: This sweet and sour fruit is rich in dietary fiber and vitamin C. It also positively impacts anti-inflammatory processes and can help repair cell damage, and it has minimal fruit sugars as well. Kiwi fruit is an excellent source of Vitamin E, K, and potassium, and they are low in fruit sugars as well, which makes it a perfect diabetic-friendly fruit.
Pear are nutrient-rich, and they are known to fight inflammation and improve digestion.? Studies also suggest that consuming pears along with a healthy diet reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. Orange: This citrus fruit is full of fiber that helps slow down sugar absorption into the bloodstream, and its vitamin C component helps improve immunity levels.
Keywords: Diabetics, Apples, Star fruit, Pear, Melons, Kiwi fruit
By Nimerta C Sharan
Exciting news for all handbag lovers, luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton recently launched their limited edition handbags 'Artycapucines - Chapter 3'. Six internationally -- acclaimed artists have transformed the black canvas of the timeless Capucines bag into beautiful art pieces. Each bag will be available in a limited edition of 200 and will be released worldwide at the end of October 2021.
Looking for a quick festive fashion fix for you and your loved ones? E-commerce giant AJIO has announced it's hottest fashion sale starting September 30, 2021. The shopping platform has roped in stylista Sonam Kapoor as the face of the sale that will offer more than 2500 brands at discounted prices.
The country's leading design house, Good Earth, in collaboration with textile designer Madeline Weinrib will present its collection of 'butah' motif dinnerware and home textiles at the Metropolitan Museum of Arts, New York. The 'Heirloom Project' that honours diverse Islamic design techniques will display curated products from across the globe.
Sweet dreams are made of this! Iconic French patisserie Laduree has opened its first Indian outpost at Delhi's upscale Khan Market. Spread over three floors, the bakery currently has twelve macaron flavours, their signature pastries and tea cakes and other brunch and high-tea items on the menu. Bon appetit.
Bright And Beautiful
Raw Mango's latest festive edit 'Moomal' goes live on their website on September 26, 2021. Inspired by the richness and diversity of Rajasthan, the collection consists of organza and silk saris and shararas, gota lehengas and kurtas and embroidered odhnis. The colours and silhouettes are just right for the upcoming festive season. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Lifestle, AJIO, sale, Deepika PAdukone, saris, Motifs, artisan, art
She took to Instagram to share her experience, detailing that doing all that over the six months period left her with "permanent stretch marks". "Gaining 20 kgs in 6 months and loosing it all within 6 months that too in my thirties messed up many things in my bodya I also have permanent stretch marks as well but art comes to life with a price and more often than not price is the artist him/herself," she wrote.
"Thalaivii" showcases the varied aspects of Jayalalithaa's life, tracing her journey as an actress at a young age to becoming the face of Tamil cinema, as well as the rise of the revolutionary leader who changed the course of the state's politics. Talking about her upcoming works, Kangana currently has 'Dhaakad'.
She is also shooting for her next 'Tejas', where she plays a fighter pilot. The Indian Air Force was the first of the country's defence forces to induct women into combat roles in 2016. The film takes inspiration from the landmark event. 'Tejas' is directed by debutant Sarvesh Mewara. The film will be RSVP's second film which pays a tribute to the Indian military after the immensely successful film "Uri: The Surgical Strike" which was released in January 2019. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Kangana Ranaut, Thalaivii, bollywood, stretc marks, actress, tamil cinema