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Logo of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. — Courtesy www.un.org

QUETTA: The head of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Quetta, Erwin Policar, on Wednesday announced that his organisation had plans to upgrade 43 schools for Afghan refugees in the province next year.

Speaking at an awareness session organised, he said that UNHCR would provide vocational training, education and health care facilities to refugees and involve these people in economic activities so that they could return to their homeland after becoming productive citizens.

Mr Policar said that the United Nations wanted all countries to open their borders for Afghan refugees, adding that at present the number of registered Afghan refugees in Pakistan was 1.4 million. Of them, 333,000 are living in Balochistan.

“The UNHCR has allocated $200 million for improving health, education and other facilities in Pakistan and 43 schools in the province will be upgraded, CT scan machines will be installed at Fatima Jinnah Hospital and ambulances will be provided in 9 districts to facilitate Afghan refugees,” he said.

He said the UNHCR wanted the Pakistan government to keep shelters open for Afghans so that new refugees could be facilitated but so far the refugees’ influx had been less than what was expected.

Dr Babrak Niaz of the Mass Communication Department of the Balochistan University said that precautionary element was very important in reporting about other communities including refugees in the province.

He said that journalists should pay special attention to the code of conduct in this regard so that problems of Afghan refugees were highlighted in a better way and they should be considered respectable members of society.

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