Pak cracks down on illegal Afghan refugees

March 2nd, 2011 - 5:54 pm ICT by ANI  

Lahore, Mar 2(ANI): The Pakistan Government has launched a nationwide crackdown on Afghan refugees residing illegally in the country. A deadline was given to them to submit their data to the Office of Afghan refugees, which expired on February 28.

The Daily Times quoted concerned officials as saying that there were over a million illegal Afghan refugees in Punjab province alone, as they migrated from different parts of Afghanistan in the 1980s and 1990s. There are Afghan colonies in almost every city of Pakistan now, and most of these settlers are not connected with citizens of the country, which has created a gray area for law enforcement agencies.

Government sources said the authorities are planning to issue National Identity Cards (NIC) to registered refugees in order to protect their rights and also to curb incidents of terrorism and crimes, which are mostly pinned on these refugees due to the alleged infiltration of terrorists into Pakistan from Afghanistan.”These cards will be similar to the Pakistani NICs but they will stipulate some restrictions relating to the refugees buying property in the country,” they elaborated.

Sources said the cards would also contain a backend database with the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) and concerned authorities to make it easier for anybody to verify the status of the cardholder.

The authorities believe that there are around two million registered Afghan refugees present in the country, out of whom 0.15 million live in Punjab. (ANI)

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