Tue. Jun 6th, 2023

Hundreds of Afghan refugees protested in the Pakistani capital due to the delay in getting American visas.

Delay in migration from Pakistan to America, Afghan refugees protest in Islamabad
Delay in migration from Pakistan to America, Afghan refugees protest in Islamabad


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After the Taliban took control of Kabul in August 2021, many Afghan citizens, including journalists and human rights activists, fled their homeland to avoid reprisals. The U.S. government launched a program called Priority 1 and Priority 2 Refugees, also known as P1 and P2, to expedite the issuance of visas to such individuals.

Under this program, Afghan nationals who have worked in Afghanistan for the U.S. government, a U.S. media organization, or a non-governmental organization are eligible for U.S. visas and have been certified by their U.S.-based employer.

These Afghan applicants, temporarily residing in Pakistan, have been waiting for the US authorities for over a year and a half to start processing their visa applications. Due to the delay in visa approval, these Afghan citizens are facing various difficulties. On the one hand, they are facing economic difficulties, on the other hand, they are not getting access to health, education and other services in Pakistan.

‘Help us on a bad day’

Against this situation, Afghan refugees protested outside the Pakistan National Press Club in Islamabad on Sunday. Muhammad Baqir Ahmadi, one of the organizers of the demonstration, said that they are facing many problems in Pakistan due to the fact that the processing of visa applications has not started.

The protestors said that the applicants have not even been given a date for the initial interview and hence the necessary processing of the visa applications has not started.

One of the banners carried by the Afghan refugees on the occasion read, “We P1/P2, your allies and comrades in the promotion of democracy, human rights and freedom of expression. We ask for your support and fellowship in these troubled times.”

Hussamuddin, an Afghan belonging to the P2 list, said that the Afghans who applied for P1 and P2 should be removed from here and sent to a country where they have the necessary Resettlement Center (RSC) centers. Open and there they can give interviews. “They (the US) should take us out of here to another country, where the RSCs are working and where the visa process can begin,” he said.

Under US law, such refugees must first be held in a third country, where their case will be considered, before being taken to the US. They may be held for 14 to 18 months in a third country and have their cases processed by the RSC.

It should be noted that after the withdrawal of American and NATO forces, the Taliban recaptured Afghanistan in August 2021. Many Afghans fled their country soon after the Taliban took over.

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