Support for Managing Refugees in Pakistan

Project description

Title: Refugee Management Support Programme
Commissioned by: German Federal Foreign Office
Country: Pakistan
Lead executing agency: Ministry of States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON)
Overall term: 2017 to 2019


Over the last four decades, Pakistan has been host to one of the largest refugee populations in the world. Presently, 1.4 million registered refugees and approximately 1 million undocumented Afghan refugees are living in Pakistan.

In February 2017, the Federal Cabinet of the Government of Pakistan approved the Afghan Refugees Management and Repatriation Policy. As a result, a large-scale process to register undocumented refugees took place in 2017/18. By the end of this process, approximately 870,000 undocumented Afghans had applied for an Afghan Citizen Card, an identity card giving them legal rights to remain in Pakistan for a limited period of time.

The Government of Pakistan has also been facilitating the voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees. In 2017, more than 100,000 undocumented Afghan refugees were voluntarily repatriated through the Torkham and Chaman border crossings to Afghanistan.


The capacity of the Ministry of States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) to manage Afghan refugees in Pakistan is enhanced. Moreover, tensions between refugees and refugee hosting communities in Pakistan’s border regions with Afghanistan are reduced.


The German Government has been cooperating with the Ministry of SAFRON and the Chief Commissionerate of Afghan Refugees (CCAR) since 2009. For much of that time, the focus was on supporting the Government of Pakistan in implementing the Refugees Affected and Hosting Areas (RAHA) programme. The main strand of activities consisted of measures to stabilise these areas in the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), Balochistan and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). In line with a gradual change in the refugee situation in Pakistan and the Government’s needs over recent years, the programme started to include measures to strengthen management structures within the Ministry of SAFRON, including training courses, workshops and capacity building measures. As a result, the German Foreign Office set up a new programme, namely the Refugee Management Support Programme (RMSP). RMSP focuses on strengthening the capacities of the Ministry of SAFRON and the Chief Commissionerate for Afghan Refugees, but continues to implement stabilisation projects in border regions.


Between 2009 and 2018, 65 projects to stabilise Pakistan’s border region with Afghanistan have been implemented in FATA, Balochistan and KPK in the fields of sustainable water management, agriculture, health, sanitation, and community cohesion. These projects have improved the livelihoods of more than one million people.

Two examples of such projects are the construction of an irrigation channel in Haripur-Banjan, KPK, and a project called ‘Cricket for Peace’ in Quetta, Balochistan:

  • In Haripur-Banjan, GIZ has built irrigation channels that have improved local people’s opportunities for agriculture and enabled them to harvest twice a year. As a result, they can now grow new crops, such as wheat, peas and strawberries, and their incomes have increased. The improved living conditions have resulted in better social cohesion in this refugee hosting area.
  • The Cricket for Peace and Social Cohesion project in Quetta has engaged local young people through cricket. The project’s goal was to promote tolerance among young people in Balochistan. This was achieved by providing sports facilities and strengthening youth sports committees as well as fostering collaboration between refugees and host populations.

Initial steps to improve the management capacity of the Ministry of SAFRON included the participation of senior staff in training courses on forced migration, international refugee law and applied project management. Cooperation in this area is currently being extended.