Afghan singers staging a protest demonstration outside UNHCR's office in Quetta: Photo provided by the author

Syed Ali Shah: 

QUETTA: Over a dozen Afghan singers staged a protest demonstration outside the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office amidst possible deportation and crackdown on Thursday morning.

Carrying white banners, the Afghan singers feared possible deportation after the Pakistan government set November 1st as the final date for all illegal immigrants to leave the country.

“We fear deportation”, Afghan singers

“We have all valid refugee documents, nevertheless, we still fear deportation”, Ahmed Shedayee, an Afghan singer told Daily Quetta Voice. Shedayee also shared similar concerns of over a dozen Afghan singers and demanded that the UN agency provide them support.

During the protest, the Afghan singers were also carrying their singing devices outside the UNHCR office. “We provided them counseling and addressed their fear of deportation”, Humera Kareem, the UNHCR’s Quetta Spokesman said.

Counseling provided to singers: UNHCR

Protesting singers expressed concern about their life and security in their own country.

“Singers are not safe in Afghanistan”, another young singer lamented. He said neither singers can perform their professional duties nor they can roam freely in Afghanistan.

Pakistan hosts 1.7 million Afghan refugees

The Afghan singers chanted full-throated slogans and demanded of the UNHCR to provide them support and convey their message to the Pakistan authorities in this regard. “UNHCR is committed to supporting refugees”, Humera Kareem mentioned.

Pakistan has been hosting millions of Afghan refugees for the last more than four decades. Currently, Pakistan is hosting over 1.7 million Afghan refugees. In his recent press conference in Islamabad, the federal interior minister, Sarfaraz Bugti said the Afghan refugees were involved in a number of terrorist activities across the country.

Afghan singers left after the Taliban take over

Most of the Afghan singers left their war-torn country after the Taliban completely took over two years back. Since then, the Afghan singers have been residing in Pakistan and other parts of the globe. Afghan Taliban banned music and declared it un-Islamic.


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About the Author

Quetta Voice is an English Daily covering all unfolding political, economic and social issues relating to Balochistan, Pakistan's largest province in terms of area. QV's main focus is on stories related to education, promotion of quality education and publishing reports about out of school children in the province. QV has also a vigilant eye on health, climate change and other key sectors.