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Afghan Refugees in Rawalpindi


Afghan Refugees in Rawalpindi

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During war, hard time and crisis, neighboring countries open their territories to welcome the affected people both legally and illegally. And this is what happened when Pakistan opened its heart and allowed the Afghan nationals to cross the boundary wall. And when the Afghan refugees settled in different areas of Pakistan, they refused to go back to their homeland to avoid on-going war and for the sake of safe and better future in Pakistan.
Now, the number of Afghan refugees settled in Rawalpindi has surpassed the alarming figure of 35,000, despite the strategy formulated by interior minister, law enforcement agencies and Rawalpindi police and administration. To curb the intensity of the matter, the administration has also given a deadline of June 30, 2016 for the renewal of their cards to Afghan nationals – who are UN High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) card holders.
Afghan refugees settled in district Rawalpindi are divided in three categories. One among these three categories comprises those refugees who have been issued cards from NHCR. The second category comprises of those Afghan refugees who have obtained Pakistani National Identity Cards (NICs) illegally from NADRA. And under third category, falls those Afghan refugees, who have no proof of identification.
Rawalpindi Police can register cases under the foreign act against Afghans who are illegally settled in Rawalpindi but till now, only 285 Afghans are arrested. The NICs issued by NADRA were blocked in large number on the report of security agencies. It is also reported that NICs were issued to those Afghans at the behest of local political figures. Due to this liberty, most of these Afghan nationals have bought valuable properties worth billions of rupees in Rawalpindi besides doing jobs in civil and government departments. Some of them have also become entrepreneurs.
There are also Afghans who have got jobs in different departments without showing any proof of their residence or identification in Pakistan. However, they got jobs in these departments at the behest of political leaders. However, the government is taking the matter seriously and decided to launch a scrutiny operation which is already underway to investigate the Afghan nationals’ presence throughout the district Rawalpindi.

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