Tuesday, August 2, 2011

pakistan exporting terrorism through afghan students

As Shahab-ur-Rehman in Peshwar reports this impacts Afghan students and traders.

Sitting in an Afghan school Dost Mohammad finds it difficult to understand the lecture being given in Pushto.

He used to get excellent grades in his Pakistani school.

But after year 10 he was told he couldn’t continue without a Pakistani identity card.

He now attends an Afghan school and has had to learn Pushto and Dari.

“It’s been very hard for me to understand the Afghan subjects. Most Afghan Students have either abandoned their education or moved over into Afghan Schools in Pakistan but the quality of these schools is much lower.”

He wants to see an agreement between the two neighbors so that Afghan refugees can complete their education in Pakistan.

“My father wanted me to complete my education in Pakistan as it’s much better than Afghanistan. The current restrictions on us are badly affecting the future of Afghanistan.”

Outside the school Gulab Khan is working as a taxi driver.

“I did my primary education at a Pakistani school, later I shifted to a Afghan-run school but the standard was so low that I left school.”

Mir Agah is the principal of Afghan High School Al-Taqua in Peshwar.

“Afghan schools in Peshawar are not free. These schools don’t get money from the government. The students have to pay and they have to give their documents accredited by the Pakistan foreign office and the Afghan consulate.”

Like students, Afghan refugee traders have contributed to the Pakistani economy.

But now the Federal Board of Revenue wants more of them to pay tax.

The board recently registered 500,000 Afghan businesses that need to start paying tax.

Usman Bilour is the President of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa Chamber of Commerce.

“Afghans are not refugees any more. They are foreign nationals. They have to register themselves and pay tax like anyone else. Afghans are earning millions but paying no tax. There are hundreds of thousands of Afghans working in restaurants, hotels and other lucrative businesses but they are still enjoying refugee status. It is high time they were brought into the tax net.”

But Afghan traders do not agree.

Carpet making is the major business for Afghans living in Pakistan.

Abdurahman is the vice chairman of the Afghan refugees Carpet Union.

He says Afghan traders are paying many indirect taxes.

“We are exporting carpet through Pakistani exporters who pay the taxes. We also help this country to earn foreign money. Already 80 percent of Afghan carpet traders have returned to Afghanistan. We will also go back if the government forces more taxes on us. Carpets are the top export item from this area. The government should provide us security and facilitate us.”

Zareef Khan, an Afghan craftsman, has decided to return home instead of pay the taxes.