Islamabad: A body representing Afghan refugees in Pakistan`s Sindh province has blamed the police for illegally arresting and extorting its members despite their having duly registered with the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).
Haji Abdullah Bokhari, chairman of the Afghan Refugees Council, said more than 500 Afghan refugees, almost all of them registered with the UNHCR, had been unlawfully arrested by the police in the past five days, creating a sense of insecurity among the community, Dawn reported.
"The raids of police have increased in our Khema Basti (refugee camp) and elsewhere where Afghans live and earn livelihoods for their families and so far they have arrested more than 500 persons," said Bokhari.
He said a number of the arrested men and children were later released by the area police after "extorting" hefty sums of money from their families.
"Many people showed them their registration cards during the raids, but they refused to acknowledge the UNHCR document and took them into custody on fake charges."
He said people were detained on the suspicion of their involvement in terrorism or other crimes and police were benefiting from the situation and making money.
As of now, some 68,000 Afghans have registered as refugees in Sindh, while 100,000 could not be registered during the refugee census in 2005, he said.
"A significant number of Afghans had already returned to their homeland since 2013 and others would go this year. Many have plans to leave as winter months pass," he added.