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Pakistan to legalise stay of 700,000 Afghan refugees

Pakistan to legalise stay of 700,000 Afghan refugees

May 25, 2017 - 16:26

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Pakistaninfo-icon is expected to legalise the stay of 700,000 Afghan refugees by launching their registration process in the next few weeks, officials said on Thursday..

Hafizullah Miakhel, media advisor to the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation (MoRR), told Pajhwok Afghan News that both sides had agreed on registering the Afghans at a meeting in Islamabad.

Based on the agreement, a meeting in Islamabad decided to start the registration of Pakistan-based refugees on July 15. He said around 700,000 Afghan refugees were currently living without legal documents in Pakistan.

Miakhel said the refugee registration process would be started by Pakistan’s National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) at 211 centers.

Zardasht Shams, Afghanistaninfo-icon’s deputy chief of mission in Pakistan, said a high level delegation led by deputy minister of refugees and repatriation had arrived to Islamabad to discuss the issue of illegal Afghans.

He said the delegation was comprised of representatives from the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Border and Tribal Affairs.

Shams said the delegation discussed the issue in detail with the Pakistani side. Pakistan would start registration of all Afghan refugees living in that country, after the holy month of Ramadaninfo-icon, he said.

A technical team would also arrive from Afghanistan to jointly conduct the registration process with ANDRA, he said, adding the process would be completed in six months.

Twenty-one registration centers would be opened initially, 11 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, five in Balochistan, some in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi, Shams said.

Some mobile centers would also register refugees, he added. The Afghan delegation also met International Organisation for Migrationinfo-icon (IOM) and UNHCR representatives in Islamabad today.

Shams said all costs of the registration process would be paid by the Afghan government, which would support Pakistan’s technical team in identifying Afghan nationals. Around 1.3 million Afghan refugees living in Pakistan have legal residency documents.


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