Sixty-eight percent of Afghan refugees in Pakistan live outside of camps, mostly in and around major urban centers. Almost all urban refugees in Pakistan are engaged in livelihood activities (transport business, gemstone trading, carpet production), making a contribution to the urban economy. Urban refugees face a number of challenges including: negative perceptions of refugees as criminals and a burden on the economy; impediments to accessing education; friction between host and refugee communities due to competition over limited resources; and ‘hosting fatigue’. The author highlights the Refugee-Affected and Hosting Areas programme (RAHA), which provides support to refugee-hosting communities across different sectors such as health, education, skills development, water and sanitation, environment and social protection, and which has created a lot of good will towards refugees living in urban areas.
Pakistan’s Urban Refugees: Steps towards Self-reliance
Muhammad Abbas Khan, Commissionerate for Afghan Refugees, Pakistan
Forced Migration Review, Issue 63, February 2020