KARACHI: More than 80 per cent of Afghans being sent to transit centres are found in possession of some form of identification and most of them are not willing to repatriate voluntarily, hence officials concerned are left with no recourse but to allow them to stay after recording their basic information.

Moreover, the officials had no mechanism in place to verify their identification documents including the Afghan Citizenship Cards (ACC), Proof of Registration (PoR) cards and even computerised national identity cards (CNIC).

The authorities concerned, therefore, had asked Sindh home department to issue directions to SSPs to tell the SHOs not to send such persons to the centres because the process of verification of their documents caused long delays in the repatriation process, said a senior official, adding that some Afghans were sending only their minor children unaccompanied by grownup relatives, which was another cause for delay.

The sources said that it had been observed in some cases that SHOs were ‘confiscating people’s ACCs, PoRs and even CNICs and sending them to the centres for deportation.’

Police blamed for detaining and sending documented Afghan immigrants to transit centres after seizing their ACC, PoR cards

The officials said that only ‘completely undocumented’ and ‘documented but willing to go’ Afghans were supposed to be repatriated in the first phase.

The sources said that Karachi Commissioner Mohammad Saleem Rajput had requested the home department to ask Nadra to make available its teams in each district in Karachi from as “without Nadra’s support in each district, police and district administration are facing serious problems in verifying genuineness of documents and IFs (illegal foreigners).”

Technical issues cause delays

The sources said that the Karachi commissioner had drawn home secretary’s attention through a letter to a decision taken at a meeting, which was chaired by caretaker home minister, regarding Nadra’s technical assistance in the repatriation of illegal foreigners. The meeting had decided that Nadra would extend technical assistance in the verification of data on illegal foreigners in each district, said the sources.

However, the official correspondence revealed that in the divisional headquarters, the Nadra Dashboard installed for the verification of PoRs and ACCs was ‘not responding’ and was therefore causing unnecessary delays and badly affecting the pace of evacuation of illegal foreigners across Karachi division, said the sources.

They said that it was also pointed out that the online software (SMS at 7000) for the verification of identity was very slow and mostly did not respond in district headquarters.

Therefore, the commissioner requested the home department to take up the issue with the authorities concerned “to sort out technical issues of Nadra Dashboard and also ensure provision of a team comprising skilled staff in each district of Karachi division till completion of the operation of repatriation of illegal foreigners without further delays.”

182 more Afghans sent to Chaman

Over 180 more ‘illegal’ Afghans were sent to Chaman border on Thursday for repatriation to their home country, according to officials.

They said that 182 illegal foreigners (IFs), including 33 women and 79 children, were sent to Balochistan. They said efforts were intensified to accelerate the flow.

They added that directions had also been issued to DCs and SSPs to increase search and comb operations as Nadra support and a sufficient number of verification devices (IVAS) were also now available in the field.

Published in Dawn, November 10th, 2023

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