Sister of North Korean leader to come to South for Olympics

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his sister Kim Yo Jong, left, during their visit to a military unit in North Korea. (AP)
Updated 07 February 2018
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Sister of North Korean leader to come to South for Olympics

SEOUL, South Korea: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister, an increasingly prominent figure in the country’s leadership herself, will be part of the North’s delegation coming to South Korea for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Seoul said Wednesday.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry said North Korea informed it Wednesday that Kim Yo Jong, 1st vice director of the Central Committee of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, would be part of the delegation led by the country’s nominal head of state Kim Yong Nam.
North Korea also said the delegation will include Choe Hwi, chairman of the country’s National Sports Guidance Committee, and Ri Son Gwon, chairman of the North’s agency that deals with inter-Korean affairs.
Seoul previously said the delegation would arrive Friday but the statement Wednesday was the first confirmation a member of the North’s ruling family would be included.
Kim Yo Jong, believed to be in her late 20s or early 30s, was promoted by her brother last year to be an alternate member of the decision-making political bureau of the ruling party’s central committee, which analysts said showed that her activities are more substantive and more important than previously thought. She is believed to be one of Kim Jong Un’s closest confidants. They were born to the same mother, Ko Yong Hui.
The war-separated rivals are cooperating for a series of conciliatory measures during the Olympics, which Seoul sees as an opportunity to ease tensions with Pyongyang following an extended period of animosity over its nuclear weapons and missiles program. Skeptics think the North is trying to use the Olympics to weakened US-led sanctions and pressure against the country and buy more time to advance its nuclear weapons and missiles program.


On World Refugee Day, Afghans in Pakistan fear deportation

Updated 7 min 51 sec ago
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On World Refugee Day, Afghans in Pakistan fear deportation

  • Islamabad has set June 30 as the deadline for Afghan refugees to return to their country
  • Nearly 4.2 million Afghans have been repatriated to their native country since 2002, according to the UN refugee agency

PESHAWAR: Rasool Khan, 40, and his four siblings were born in Pakistan, his family having moved there immediately after the former Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1978.
Both his grandfather and father were merchants and frequently visited Pakistan. “My father used to visit Pakistan for business, but in the 1970s he permanently moved there because of the war in Afghanistan,” Khan said.
But Pakistan has set June 30 as the deadline for Afghan refugees to leave the country. Khan, a representative of Afghan traders in the Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce, said there should be a separate policy for students, businesspeople and Afghans married to Pakistani women.
“It’s not fair to deal with all Afghans under the same policy of deportation and repatriation,” he added.
With World Refugee Day being observed on June 20, Afghans living in Pakistan hope that the deadline will be extended.
Abdul Hameed, director of the Afghan Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations, said Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhawa (KP) province hosts 1.1 million Afghan refugees.
Based in KP’s capital Peshawar, he expressed hope that Pakistan’s caretaker government will extend the stay of Afghan refugees.
“Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan are improving, and both sides are in touch on the refugee issue,” he told Arab News.
The director general of the Commissionerate for Afghan Refugees in KP, Waqar Maroof, said Islamabad is considering adopting a separate policy for Afghan students, traders and those married to Pakistani women.
“Once KP’s Interior Ministry gives the go-ahead, we’ll implement the plan,” he told Arab News.
Qaiser Khan Afridi, spokesman in Pakistan for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said 4.2 million Afghans have been repatriated to their native country since 2002.
“Pakistan is the second-largest refugee host country (in the world), and it is hosting around 1.4 million Afghan registered refugees at the moment,” he added.
Islamabad says there are more than 1 million Afghans living in Pakistan without proper documentation.
“We want Afghan refugees to stay in Pakistan with legal and valid documents,” said Maroof. “Afghans who were repatriated to their native country want to come to Pakistan on a valid visa and passport so they can stay here legally.”
Khan fears losing the business he and his father built over the last four decades if he is forced to go to Afghanistan.
His friend Masham Khan moved there a few months ago, but returned to Pakistan after getting a visa because “there isn’t enough business activity” in Afghanistan.