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Pakistan: Asylum

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 6 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with (a) HM Ambassador in Kabul and (b) the High Commissioner in Islamabad on UK immigration applications from Pakistanis claiming status as refugees fleeing Afghanistan. (201630)

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not had discussions with our ambassador in Kabul or our high commissioner in Islamabad on UK immigration applications from Pakistan claiming status as refugees fleeing Afghanistan.

We take issues of immigration from Pakistan, and the refugee situation within Pakistan, seriously. Senior officials recently visited Pakistan to discuss the UK’s engagement with Pakistan on migration and we continue to support the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ Tripartite process to tackle the long-term problem of Afghan refugees in Pakistan.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has had discussions with the government of Pakistan on the repatriation of Afghan refugees in that country. (202577)

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not had discussions with the Government of Pakistan on the repatriation of Afghan refugees in Pakistan. However we take the issue of the approximately 2 million Afghan refugees, many of whom have been in Pakistan for over 20 years, seriously. Last year the Department for International Development supported the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) repatriation programme with £500,000. We continue to work with the UNHCR Tripartite process to find a sustainable solution to this long-standing problem.