Documentation of Afghan Nationals Underway

Documentation of Afghan Nationals Underway

More than a hundred thousand undocumented Afghan nationals have registered themselves with the National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) over a span of one month, thus, securing the permission to continue residing in Pakistan for an indefinite period.

Officials state that eighty thousand Afghans have been documented in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa alone, while twenty thousand such refugees have received the Afghan Citizen Card in Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and the federal territory.

The NADRA, Afghan Commissionerate and Afghanistan Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation are jointly running the registration campaign, which will end on the 31st of December. However, the duration of the campaign could be extended.

The authority has been tasked with registering one million undocumented Afghan nationals within six months. A total of twenty-one registration centers have been set up in the country, including eleven in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Around more than one million Afghan nationals lived in the country without legal documentation. After a series of terrorist attacks, the law enforcement agencies launched a crackdown on unregistered Afghan in the country.

The International Organisation of Migration, assisting and monitoring the movement of migrants across the world, reported that 248,189 undocumented Afghan nationals had returned or were deported from Pakistan in 2016.

The newly introduced Afghan Citizen Card has also attracted Afghan nationals from across the border. This has encouraged Afghans to return to Pakistan through legal channels before approaching registration centers to get cards.

Meanwhile, the Federal Task Force dealing with refugees and undocumented Afghan nationals met in Islamabad to discuss the registration process.

Commissioner Refugees Mohammad Saleem Khan chaired the meeting, which was attended by officials of the Commissionerate from the provinces, United Nations Human Rights Commission, Internation Organisation of Migration and Afghan refugees as well as the Repatriation Ministry.

According to an official, the meeting decided to establish call centers across the country to facilitate Afghan nationals interested in obtaining the cards, as the call centers would make the entire process more transparent and also prevent the unnecessary influx of refugees to the registration desks.