Pakistan and ihe Afghan Refugees]
FOR RELEASE DATE:
refugees in Pakistan hove noteavy economic or political liability for Islamabad. Frictions between them end Pakitlanis could grow, however, and lead to serious problem* for theharp Increase in tensions between Pakistanis and the refugees would erode political stability in Pakistanperhaps cause Islamabad to seek an accommodation with Kabul ind
Pakistani Government registration figures indicate thatillionre ii Pakisun
refu-ees who have returned to Afghanistannfilled this figure. Based ran reports of discrepancies bet-eea rccUtrattons aad numbers actually in refugee'^million Afghans are in Pakistani refugee camps^^
New refugees continue to arrive in Pakistan, but. according to Pakistani officials, theionlh comparedrew yean ago.ighting near the border can still bring ain the last four month! ofwe believe most of these refugees return home when military operationsjJH
Most of th* predominantly Pushtun refugees residei of Pakistan where cultural differences with the local population arc minimal. About three-fourths are in the North-Weat Frontier Province near the Afghan border, and most of the remainder are in Baluchnun. primarily in Puihlun areas. Lessereeni are in Pa-sab aad Sind Provinces. Islamabad pfatts to uaesferefugees to camps in western Punjab, but lessad moved by early February
According to the Pakistani press, refugees ore barred from buying real cetete or engaging in business activities that would lead lo permanent residence, but other economic activity is permitted. Mosi live in camps near the Afghan border by choice. Refugeesfree to live In any pan of Pakistan, although Islamabad has retlhcted the movement of large .roups. Some refugee groups that migrated seasonally from one part of Afghanistan to another have tried toihe same patterr in Pakiilan^ff,
Some Pakistanis claim thai the refugees are taking jobs from local Pakistanis, forcing up rents and food crkes. and Irving better than Pakistanis on largess from Islamabad. We believe these claims arc eiagierated and that thePakistan bisnotbeen eiccilivc ^
'h* drect cost to Pakistan Ttpportmgtr*reh^ is0ear,ercent of the government's budget. Tbe movement of food and other refugee supplies costs Pakistanillion. Other expenses include salaries forakistanis involved with refugee iisees. education for somertudents. and sue
Even if the Pakistani coil figures are accurate,not reflect the
ons of donatedone-fourth to one-third of the total supplied by internationalreeiported by the
refugee*fghanistan or sold mi Pakistan. We believe ihJ( lb* proceeds from these sales generally remain in Pakistan. Pakistani biisinessrnen. such as tent manufacturers and millers.won lucrative contracts with relief organisations, ind oilier Pakistanis ire employed by these groups. The UN refugee organisation estimates that itillion in Pakistan In Ihe coming
Some Pakistanisve lostefugees, bui US officials report thai most refugees have filled vBcancics caused by lhc migration of Pakistani workers to the Persian Gulf states or are doing work done historically by migrant Afghan tribesmen. Because the refugees apparently receive more than enough food from International donors, and because prices have risen in parts of Pakistan where the refugee presence is negligible, we believe that there is little connection between the refugee influi and inflation. Nonetheless, US officials report that pressures generated by the refugees have had scene impact or> rents, al leu: in QuetU and Peshawar
0 Afghans being educated by Pakistan cow itutemall percentage of moreillion Afghan refute* children in the country. Moreover, lessercent of Pakistan's medical personnel are assigned to refugee health centers. Pakistanis who lack adequate health care or whose children cannot go to school, however, are likely lo believe that they suffer from ihe diversion of resources to the rcfufieesM
Law and Older
US official! report that many Pakistanis believe the refugees haverimary cause of growing crime and disorder In the North-West Frontier and Baluchistan. The evidence Is contradictory. Refugees have committed some murders and robberies, and fighting between rival insurgent groups has occasionally broken out in Pakistan. According to the NWFP refugee commissioner, however, the crime rate in the province has not increased since the refugees hegan arriving. Hehisperinghas linked refugees to every unsolved erime.
Violence has increased ia Kurram Agency, where there have been senous dashes between rival Sbia and Stnni Pakistani tribes. Their dispute is centuries old. oui we believe that the arrival of enough Afghan Sunnis to double the Agency's population has contributed significantly to sectarian tensions. In the Khyber Agency, on the other hand, an increase in violence has been sparked by government efforts to eliminate heroinproducilon and appears unrelated to refugee!
We do not expect tensions between refugees and Pakistanis toctioui problem. There were more violent incidents and protein against the refugees3 than In previous yean, but the number was still small, and we know or onlyozen serious incidcnts^H
In some circumstances, however, government and popular altitudes toward th* refugees could change markedly, and tbe situation could deteriorate:
If therea significant decline ro jobs for Pakistanis in Ihe Gulf. competition between returning worken and refugees could become severe igh to lead to
. If foreign assistance declined. Islamabad would have to assume more of the relief effon and cut back on other Pakistani programs or reduce support for the refugees. The latter option mightiolent reaction in the camps and greater refugee pressure on local economics.
If Soviet military pressure drove hundreds of thousands of additional Afghans into Pakistan, facilities in areas where moil refugees now live would be overburdened, lowering living standards and increasing tensions. If the government tried lo move the refugeei lo other areas. It would meet resistance both from Afghans unwilling to leave the border areas and from Pakistanis in non-Pushtun
If Ihe refuf.ee stay ii prolonged, overgrazing by refugee herds and (he re-fling of ireci for fire**ejod could cause an economic decline (hat would increaie
Ai the refugees come to let themselves as permaneniompetition for political power could alsoroblem Baluch tribesmen, for example, fear that Pushlun refugees will join theur.ber of Pakistani Pnshiuni in Baluchistan Province and scire perineal control^
he refugeeserious economic harden or if tensions bet*een refugees and Pakistanis cause serious civil disorders, we believe Islamabad would be toon amenable to an arrangement with Kabul and Moscow that facilitated the return of the refugees and ended Pakistani support for the resistance. Should many of the refunees nevertheless remain in Pakistan, as wc believe likely, the task of integrating them into Pakistani society veouM be dllficult, and Islamabad might be saddledermanent refugee co mm unity jOriginal document.