Category: Abottabad

Summary – Abbottabad

Pakistanis: 1,430,238
Afghan refugees: 18,154
Urban Afghan refugees: 17,895
Unregistered Afghans (estimated): 2,000
Religious composition: Sunni 100%
Main areas of Origin: Logar, Kabul and Nangarhar in Afghanistan
Ethnicities of Afghans: Pashtun: 100%
Housing situation: All refugees live in rented pukka (mud) houses.
Additional Observations: Chhachi, Gujarii, Hindko, Majhi, Pahari, Pashto and Potohari, some of which are considered dialects of Punjabi and Urdu, are the predominant languages of the district.

The main tribes are Dhunds, Tanolis, Awans, Jadoons, Kashmiris, Shilmani, Sarrara (a section of the Dhund-Abbasi), Karlals, Qureshi, Mughals, Gujjars, Syed and Satti

See statistics overview for all districts …

Community Structures – Abbottabad

There are no community structures for refugees in urban settings. Nevertheless, the general relationship with the host community is friendly.

Most refugees in this area have no knowledge about their rights or about organizations working for their betterment. The refugees overall situation could be improved in this area by raising awareness within the community about what services are available and refugees’ rights.

Education – Abbottabad

The following schools are all located in Abbottabad:

  • Abbottabad Public School (APS),
  • Abbottabad Jamia Public School,
  • Al-Imtiaz Academy,
  • Army Burn Hall College (ABHC),
  • Army Public College Kakul Campus (APC),
  • Aligarh Public School & College,
  • Banat Public School & Girls College,
  • Beaconhouse Hassan Town,
  • Beaconhouse Liaquat Road,
  • Bloom Hall Public School,
  • Concept School of Learning,
  • Creations – Academy of Fine Arts Abbottabad (0992341146),
  • Gandhara Public School,
  • Government Girls’ College #1,
  • Government Girls’ College #2,
  • Government Girls’ High School #1,
  • Government Girls’ High School #2,
  • Government Girls’ Higher Secondary School Comprehensive,
  • Government High School #1,
  • Government High School #2,
  • Government High School #3,
  • Government High School #4,
  • Green Valley Public High School P.M.A Road,
  • Hazara Hills Academy,
  • Mangal Public School,
  • Modern School System,
  • Modernage Public School,
  • Lime Light Public School,
  • Pakistan International Public School and College (PIPS),
  • Pine Hills Public School,
  • Pakistan Public Academy Chinar Road,
  • Present Times Public School,
  • Progressive College of Sciences,
  • Rahber Public School,
  • Roots School System,
  • Tameer-e-Wattan Public School,
  • The Muslim Education System,
  • The City School

Post secondary:

  • NIMS College of Medicine (pending approval for recognition from CJ SC following corruption allegations against PMDC officials),
  • Kingston School For Deaf & Hearing Impaired Children Kehal,
  • Kingston School For Mentally Retarded Children Kehal,
  • Kingston School For Physically Challenged & Visual Challenged Children, Kehal,
  • Gate Way School And College,
  • Abbottabad Government Postgraduate College #1,
  • Abbottabad Government Postgraduate College #2,
  • Ayub Medical College,
  • Ayub Teaching Hospital,
  • School of Nursing,
  • College of Dentistry,
  • Institute of Nuclear Medicine, Oncology and Radiotherapy,
  • Frontier Medical College,
  • Government College of Management Sciences,
  • Government College of Technology,
  • Emerson College of Technology,
  • Emerson Degree College of Commerce and Management,
  • Hazara University,
  • Muslim College of Management Sciences,
  • University of Science and Technology,
  • UET,
  • Women Medical College,
  • Oregon Institute of Education,
  • Punjab Group of Colleges


  • Pakistan Military Academy,
  • Army Physical Training School,
  • Army School of Music,
  • Regimental Training Centres of the Pakistan Army ,
  • Baloch Regiment (BR),
  • Frontier Force Regiment (PIFFERS),
  • Army Medical Corps (AMC)

No further information on education facilities or issues is available in Abbottabad.

Health – Abbottabad

The health facilities in Abbotabad include:

  • Ayub Teaching Hospital
  • District Head Quarter Hospital

It has been reported that refugees often have difficulties accessing public hospitals. When they are admitted, the quality of service that they receive is also reported to be lower than that received by the host community.

Legal Assistance – KP Summary

Critical gaps in the provision of legal assistance in KP are the absence of key legal entitlements associated with PoR cards, a lack of clear policy and the absence of a mechanism for the management of urban refugee population. There are also legal obstacles for Afghan refugees to present surety bonds in the courts.

Sensitisation of the local authorities, law enforcement agencies and general population is required on refugees’ rights.

It is reported by refugees that the newly established dispute resolution councils operating in each police station are not working effectively, possibly as they are only staffed by Pakistanis. In general, there is a lack of refugee friendly policing initiatives in KP.

There is need to develop more interaction and coordination between urban refugees and host communities. Raising awareness in the urban refugee communities about the legal services that are provided in their area could well help.

New provincial laws regulating rental agreements for rented accommodation does not include provision for the PoR cardholders, disadvantaging them.

Livelihoods – Summary

The overarching issues facing refugees in Pakistan are the difficulties in accessing formal jobs due to the limited rights associated with the PoR cards and the absence of a process for requesting work permits. There is also a lack of awareness of the PoR cards in the local business community. Additionally, many refugees are stuck as daily labourers as they do not have time to learn new skills. Lastly, refugees are normally not eligible for courses run by government institutions that offer opportunities for individuals to develop specific technical skills.

Nevertheless, there is great interest amongst refugees, including female refugees, for livelihoods trainings on topics as diverse as marketing, bricklaying, embroidery and finishing techniques in dress making.

While some of the specific trainings noted in each district help improve the livelihoods of Afghan refugees, three more strategic steps that would positively impact on the livelihoods of Afghan refugees in Pakistan are as follows:

  1. Advocacy by UNHCR on the provision of official work permits for refugees.
  2. Refugees become eligible for enrolment in government vocational training institutes.
  3. Development of linkages between skilled Afghan youth and potential employers.

Livelihoods – Abbottabad

The most common livelihoods in Abbottabad for Afghan refugees are as daily wage labourers and shopkeepers.

In urban areas, Afghan refugees rent houses, own cars, work in offices or run their own businesses. Many of them receive remittances from family or friends living abroad.

Urban refugees are generally not aware about livelihoods programmes organised by international organisations.

Protection – Overarching

Five crosscutting social protection issues have been identified in all districts and are highlighted here.

Firstly, many refugee children are sent to work by their parents who are often forced into this situation due to extreme poverty. Even those children that do attend school during the day often still have to work in the evening / at night. The parents are generally unaware of the hazards and protection risks child labour presents. Greater advocacy both at national policy level and within communities raising awareness about these risks is required.

Secondly, the identification of child protection, domestic violence, early and forced marriages and SGBV issues are severely constrained by the cultural norms within the Afghan refugee and host communities. As a result these issues are substantially underreported. Advocacy within communities raising awareness about basic human rights is required.

Particularly in relation to SGBV incidents, due to cultural / societal taboos, many refugee SGBV survivors are themselves unwilling or unable to seek external help. Often if they do, they are stigmatised within the community. Furthermore, refugee women often do not perceive violence as an offense against them or a violation of their rights. Rather these acts are often considered by refugee women as a practice to be endured. The promotion of women’s rights within these communities is a clear priority. While most Afghans are not willing to discuss such sensitive topics openly, a way needs to be found to effectively raise awareness of SGBV and women’s health services within the Afghan community.

Thirdly, most communities neglect to include women and children in decision making processes. Greater participation of these two groups would help refugees to build stronger, more inclusive communities. Unfortunately, it has been reported that even the organisations providing these services often lack awareness on the importance of equal opportunities for women, which is reflected in these organisations employing more men than women. General protection oriented trainings are required by partner organisations.

Fourthly, a discriminatory attitude by services providers towards non-Pakistanis attempting to avail their services has been reported in a number of districts. General protection oriented trainings for these service providers would help improve the impartiality and neutrality of these services.

Lastly, discrimination because of disabilities is very prevalent and mental health issues in particular are often not diagnosed. Again, advocacy on these issues within refugee communities is direly needed.

Protection – Abbottabad

In Abbottabad, there are no specific child friendly spaces and no known projects with activities oriented towards adolescents and youth.

Service providers need to engage directly with urban refugees, particularly women and it is hoped that such greater interaction can help improve the social protection situation within these communities.

Security – KP in general

The urban area is administered by the regular government administrative and security structures. In late 2014, the Ministry of SAFRON and CCAR decided to establish an urban refugee management and administrative structure, with the first level of this hierarchical structure established at the central level in Islamabad. This has been supported by the SHARP / UNHCR urban outreach programme, which is focussed on raising awareness of protection issues and advocacy on the rights of the refugees.

No organised communal security structures are in place in any urban area throughout KP province.

After the tragic 16 December 2014 terrorist attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, the government and host population attitudes to Afghan refugees has hardened. Additional local policing was introduced in several urban areas to improve the security situation, but there have been allegations of harassment and financial extortion by these additional police. In addition, the police themselves have been targeted by opposition militias and the Taliban. As a result, the number of casualties due to security incidents has increased in several refugee communities, particularly in localities in the south of Peshawar. Also, notably, humanitarian polio vaccination teams have been targeted.

Urban areas have often received relatively less support than refugees residing in refugee villages (former camps).

The loose communal structures and ad hoc refugee committees in various areas with significant refugee populations are not recognised by any government organisations. Despite continued capacity building efforts by UNHCR of policy makers, police, the judiciary, the high level district management and the security agencies, many government officials remain unaware of refugee rights and Pakistan’s obligations under international law.

Unilateral actions by law enforcement agencies including the closure of refugee villages (former camps), evictions, harassment, arrest, detention and deportation of the registered Afghans has become a common practice. It is fair to say that the prolonged poor security situation in KP has had a very detrimental impact on many local communities, whether Pakistani or Afghan or both.

Local law enforcement agencies also lack up-to-date tools to verify PoR cards at e.g. check posts.

With respect to unregistered Afghan migrants, there are currently no reliable estimates of how many reside in KP. Typically, they live in scattered communities with little unity between different tribal groups. They have limited information regarding social and legal services and are often wary of availing these services in fear of being deported under the foreigners act when they attend a particular service.

WASH – Abbottabad

Piped municipal water is available in houses in urban areas.

The city is generally clean but requires more frequent cleaning of drains.

Urban refugees have received very limited support e.g. through the RAHA programme as compared with other urban clusters of refugees or those refugees still living in refugee villages (former camps).