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Govt urged to own overseas Pakistanis who declared themselves Afghans

Updated February 12, 2019

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People who showed themselves as refugees do not have Afghan or Pakistani passports, Senate body says.— Reuters/file
People who showed themselves as refugees do not have Afghan or Pakistani passports, Senate body says.— Reuters/file

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on States and Frontier Regions on Monday took up the matter of Pakistanis who went to Europe and the US posing as Afghans and who are now stuck there as they cannot get Afghan or Pakistani passports.

“It is time to look into the issue as so many families are miserable. We need to identify and declare them Pakistanis and issue them passports so they can return or live quality lives freely in other countries,” the committee chairman, Taj Mohammad Afridi said.

He said he met many young people in the UK who had declared themselves Afghan refugees.

“It has become difficult with time to get documentation which means they cannot get Pakistani or Afghan passports. Some of the young people sought asylum but they cannot prove they are Afghans,” he said.

People who showed themselves as refugees do not have Afghan or Pakistani passports, Senate body says

Mr Afridi said the government must address the issue.

A representative of the ministry said there are three categories of Afghan refugees in Pakistan- those who have proof of registration, those who came to Pakistan without registration but registered themselves later, and those who were not registered and are still living in Pakistan.

“The situation has become complicated because of this,” he said.

Senator Shamim Afridi said some of his servants are also Afghans but have Pakistani national identity cards.

“I suggest that instead of dividing Afghans into categories, they should be allowed to work in Pakistan and given Pakistani nationality,” he said.

The committee chairman said the prime minister had also said that those born in Pakistan will be given Pakistani citizenship.

“However this has not been done yet. I suggest the government look into the issue and mitigate the sufferings of people living in Pakistan for generations. Government should ensure the future of children in the tribal areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is secure,” he said.

Committee members expressed displeasure over the absence of the Higher Education Commission chairman, head of the Pakistan Engineering Council and registrar of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC). Only PMDC Director Administrator Arshad Nawaz was attending the meeting.

Published in Dawn, February 12th, 2019