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ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Wednesday told the National Assembly that the children of Afghan refugees in Pakistan cannot be issued Pakistani citizenship documents.

Answering queries during Question Hour, he said that the children of Afghan refugees were Afghans and not entitled to the privilege, even if their mothers were Pakistani citizens.

Persons who were born in the territories now included in Pakistan or those whose parents or grandparents were born here before the commencement of Citizenship Act 1951 are considered citizens of Pakistan.

Under the law, any person born in Pakistan after the commencement of the act are considered citizens. The children of foreign diplomats and enemy aliens born in Pakistan are not included in this category. Those who migrated from territories of Pakistan to other areas of the Indo-Pak subcontinent for permanent stay after March 1947 shall also be not considered citizens of Pakistan.

Minister says 350m CNICs re-verified in one month under latest Nadra drive

The minister told the house that a parliamentary committee was being formed to take up the issue of the blocking of computerised national identity cards (CNICs) of genuine Pakistani citizens, who were affected during the ongoing drive against aliens possessing Pakistani documents.

In its written response before the house, the interior ministry said that the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) had taken several initiatives to facilitate the general public. Directions have been issued to all registration centres that records should not be blocked merely on the basis of doubt, dialect or ethnic grounds.

It said that CNICs were mainly blocked due to fake particulars/documents, or on the report of a verifying agency regarding clarification of national status of individual.

However, before blocking a card, a legal notice is issued to an individual under Section 23 of the Nadra Ordinance 2000, asking them to appear before the zonal or regional board along with the requisite documents. “If the individual fails to appear before the verification board constituted by Nadra, their CNIC is blocked,” the reply noted.

Later on, if individuals approach Nadra with the correct particulars and documents, their cards are modified and revoked after systematic procedure and board proceedings. For this purpose, revocation boards have been constituted in all zones and regions of Nadra, the reply further explained.

Nisar, however, said that cases of “Confirmed Aliens” are not revoked until their national status is verified by the verifying agency as a “Pakistan National”. A total of 96,579 applicants’ cards were blocked for being ‘Confirmed Alien’.

He said that in just one month, some 350 million CNICs had been re-verified under the latest drive. He also said the response of the public through the SMS had been mind-boggling and 3.5m messages had been received, whereby thousands of intruders and foreigners were removed from family trees.

Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2016