PESHAWAR: Afghan refugees, residing in various parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have demanded of the government to give further extension in their legal residency status period. Steps should be taken to resolve their problems amicably before the repatriation to their home country. The demand was made by Afghan elders Haji Arsala Khan, Haji Sherzada, Qari Mehmood Shah, Muhammad Saeed Hashmi and others, during an Afghan Refugees Grand ‘Jirga’ held at Peshawar Press Club here on Thursday. The ‘Jirga’ discussed the problem faced by registered Afghan refugees elsewhere in the province. Arsala Khan said the Afghan refugees have expressed gratitude to Government of Pakistan for prolonged hosting them in the country, and ensured provision of education, health, and other facilities to them, along with giving opportunities to make investment and business. But, he stressed that after being deprived of their rights for around 40 years now, his compatriots wanted nothing more than to return to Afghanistan with dignity. He also pointed out that for refugees who had built livelihoods and businesses in Pakistan; it would not be possible to shift their entire setup in one go. Sherzada noted wryly that debtors who knew Afghan refugees had until the end of this year to leave the country “have stopped taking our calls”, while creditors “are hounding us”, and demanded the both countries to form a body that would address financial disputes between citizens on both sides of the border. According to UN report, Arsala Khan said around 1.5 million people had become homeless due to prolonged war in neighbouring Afghanistan. He wondered whether Afghanistan would be able to absorb the around the huge population returning refugees if they all went back within the stipulated timeframe, i.e. before the end.