PESHAWAR: The repatriation process of Afghan refugees living in different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has been expedited with the establishment of a new and second Voluntary Repatriation Centre at Azakhel area in district Nowshera. The UNHCR claims that now it has the capacity to facilitate the return of up to 10,000 refugees every day through the Torkham border. The total VRC number now is three operating in different parts of Pakistan including Chamkani and Azakhel KP and Baleli located in Quetta. With the dignified returning process of refugees some are happy but many are unhappy to go to their ancestral homeland because almost after the passing of four decades in Pakistan the new Afghan generation does not know more about its homeland. Since 2002, almost 3.9 million Afghan refugees have been helped in repatriation to their country through the UNHCR VRC programme. Around 167,228 registered Afghan refugees have returned home from Pakistan so far this year. “We are living for the past 37 years in Pakistan and during this long-period we did not quarrel with our Pakistani brothers and never used impolite language against each other which is a record,” said Malik Habib Khan, an Afghan refugee while talking to Daily Times. He said they were willing to go to their country but the main issue in their country was peace and employment. “Those refugees who repatriated are not properly facilitated by the afghan government. We are waiting for a normal situation in Afghanistan and will go with the deadline given to Afghan refugees by the Government of Pakistan,” he remarked. Since July 2016 there has been an increase in the number of Afghan refugees voluntarily repatriating to Afghanistan. There are a number of related factors which have led to this increase. The spike in returns coincides with the introduction of tighter border management controls at the Torkham border between Pakistan and Afghanistan on June 1. Afghans now need valid passports and visas in order to enter Pakistan. “It is a very challenging and difficult time for us to go our country because we have spent more than 35 years in Pakistan. When I was three years old I came to Pakistan,” said Malik Umer, 38, a general store operator in district Kohat and belonging to Torghar, Nangarhar, Afghanistan. “I have hardly spent three or four years in my ancestral country Afghanistan but will have to go to our parent’s country” he said. The Afghan refugee added: “We do not expect such a peaceful and prosperous life in other countries except in Pakistan”. He said that all the Afghan refugees were unhappy and unwilling to go to their country due to the law and order situation, unemployment, lack of business opportunities and other issues in Afghanistan. “No doubt the repatriated Afghan refugees are not treated very well in their country and the Afghan residents settled over there misbehave with them. They (Afghanis) do not call us with good names and do not look at us with respect,” he regretted. The Government of Pakistan as well as its people are very lovely and always bestowed affection. We are going to our country and carrying this love and prosperity with us and we cannot forget such a lovely country and its people” he explained. He added that they could not forget the good attitude and behaviour adopted by Pakistanis with the Afghan refugees for the last several decades. He urged that the Government of Pakistan should take care of the repatriation process and do not harass the refugees because it would bitter the 37 years’ hosting of Afghans refugees. The wider security context has also contributed to an increase in the number of registered Afghan refugees opting to return since July. The increase in the number of security operations against undocumented foreigners, including undocumented Afghans, has also impacted the refugees’ decision-making. Pakistan remains one of the largest refugee hosting country with some 1.4 million Afghans still residing in the country. In addition to the registered Afghan refugee population, the Government of Pakistan estimates that another 600,000 Afghans reside irregularly in the country. “I am happy to go my country and do not feel any sadness while leaving Pakistan” told Haji Ghufran, the president of the Afghan Traders Association and currently living in Tajabad, Peshawar. He said he basically belonged to Jalalabad, Afghanistan and had spent more than 38 years in Pakistan. He added that his sons were not ready to go to Afghanistan because they were born in Pakistan and got educated here and never visited their ancestral homeland ever before. “My sons will face difficulties because they do not know the environment and attitude of the Afghans” he said. “There is a great difference in the education system between both the countries. Educational institutions in Pakistan are delivering education in Urdu and English languages while in Afghanistan the system consists of Pushto and Dari languages therefore my kids will also face miseries in this regard,” Mr Ghufran said. He said that they would eventually go to their country either now or after 10 years but have to go therefore had decided to go now instead of further waiting in Pakistan.