New PoR cards delivered to half of Afghan refugees: UNHCR

Published May 6, 2014
150,000 children are to be registered in the next phase starting from July. – File Photo
150,000 children are to be registered in the next phase starting from July. – File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) has successfully delivered new Proof of Registration (PoR) cards with validity date of December 31, 2015 to about half of total 1.6 million registered Afghan refugees in Pakistan, the UN refugee agency said on Tuesday.

Launched in February this year in collaboration with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), following the government’s decision to extend the validity of PoR cards, the first phase of renewal project is scheduled to conclude on June 30.

According to UNHCR, to date, more than 668,000 Afghan refugees have received their new PoR cards through a total of 34 distribution centres and Mobile Registration Vans (MRVs) operating across Pakistan.

In the second phase of the project – July 2 till the end of 2014 – Nadra will register some 150,000 children born to registered parents in past five years.

Moreover, some 182,000 children who have reached the age of five years since the last exercise and who are already registered with their parents, will now receive their individual PoR cards.

Neill Wright, the representative of UNHCR in Pakistan, has urged all registered Afghans who have not yet renewed their PoR cards to do so without further delay. He lauded Nadra for implementing a smooth and efficient renewal project.

The UNHCR representative said the attachment of rights to possession of PoR cards, such as to be able to obtain a driver license, open a bank account and purchase mobile SIM cards, was an important next step to be considered by the government.

During a three-day official visit of UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres last week, Minister of States and Frontier Regions (Safron) Lt-Gen (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch assured the UN agency that he would look into possibility of granting rights associated with holding a PoR card.

The UNHCR also wishes to inform Afghan refugees that from September 1, it will only consider Afghans holding the new PoR cards for any services provided by the agency and its partners, including assistance for voluntary repatriation to Afghanistan, said the statement.

Afghans still carrying the old PoR cards with the validity date of December 2012 will no longer be entitled to any assistance provided by UNHCR and its partners, it added.

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