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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.

Comments (8) Closed

independentthinker May 06, 2014 11:14pm

I hope they will get to go back to Afghanistan! These refugees have a home, just like the rest of us and I hope a day will come when everyone gets to enjoy and live peacefully in their own motherland. If greed wasn't a major factor, there is plenty of everything in this world for each of us to enjoy and be comfortable with!

Tilikum May 07, 2014 06:06am

All refugees who have stayed in Pakistan for more than 5 years in Pakistan or were born in Pakistan should be given permanent residence permit and the one who have stayed more than 10 years should be give Pakistani nationality. These people lost everything in the war and have nothing to do back to; it is time for Pakistanis to make the humane and correct decision. These people are already working and living in Pakistan, which means they have already been absorbed by the society. There are hundreds of Pakistanis who are given permanent residence in western countries, why can't Pakistan government do the same ? I think this gesture alone will have a very positive impact on Pakistan-Afghanistan relations.

Faisal May 07, 2014 07:32am

After 30 years I am tired of them can we just deport them?

Khan May 07, 2014 09:14am

Atleast Can half of the Afghans go back to Afghanistan or India so that we can live peacefully

Muhammad Bilal May 07, 2014 11:42am

I donot understand why the Pakistani Government does not throw them back. We are keeping the Afghan refugees only to get aid from westren countries. Afghans are thankless people like Hamid Karzai. Afghans have brought all the militancy, arms and drugs to Pakistan. It my request to all the Afghans to please quit our country and go back to their own, the place they are proud of...

Jalbani Baloch May 07, 2014 12:33pm

The Govt. of Pakistan should make necessary arrangements for the return of all Afghan Refugees to their homeland, with the coordination of UNHCR. It is now more than five years since Afghanistan has got a representative government, which can take care of the well-being of its own citizens. The Govt. should set a deadline for the voluntary migration of refugees from Pakistan to Afghanistan, and after that, it should clamp down on all illegal refugees by tasking all the provincial governments to search every town and city of the country and arrest and deport them from Pakistan. Since, many Afghans are pushto speaking, and sometimes, it becomes difficult for the authorities, whether they belong to Pakistan or they hail from Afghanistan, and in such a situation, the Govt. should seek the assistance of Pushtoons in particular and KPKGovt. in general to help the Government identify all the illegal Afghans. As for identification of refugees through verification of CNIC is concerned, in my opinion, half of Afghan population living in Afghanistan holds Pakistani citizens by having CNIC with the connivance of NADRA authorities. It is a time to take tough decisions and purge the country from all illegal immigrants including but not limited to Afghans, Bengalis, Burmese, Iranians and etc.

Sher Ahmed May 07, 2014 10:59pm

They should now return to their own country.

independentthinker May 08, 2014 01:07am

@Tilikum The question is - do these folks want permanent residency or citizenship. Considering the present situation in Pakistan, I highly doubt too many people want to remain in Pakistan, if they had a choice.