ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Standing Committee on Government Assurances was informed Thursday that 1.6 million unregistered Afghan refugees are living in Pakistan.
The information was revealed by Director General National Registration and Database Authority in response to an assurance given by Minister for State and Frontier Regions Lt Gen (r) Abdul Qadir Baloch in response to a question at National Assembly on August 16, 2013.
The committee met in the Parliament building under the chairmanship of Muhammad Afzal Khokhar, MNA to consider the assurances given by the government on the floor of the House.
The agenda items included the assurance given by Ch. Nisar Ali Khan, Minister for Interior to launch a proactive major operation against mafias and vested interest working in and around passport offices; clearance of backlog of passports in foreign missions/consulates particularly that of Malaysia; and an assurance given by Lt. General (Retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch, Minister for States and Frontier Regions that registration of illegal refugees living in the suburb of Karachi would be carried out so that planning can be made for their repatriation.
The Director General (Project), NADRA with reference to agenda item regarding registration of illegal refugees living in the suburb of Karachi, briefed that Pakistan is hosting 1.6 million registered refugees in addition to an equal number of un-documented Afghan citizens living inside Pakistan.
The Committee was informed that keeping in view the presence of 1.6 million registered Afghan refugees in Pakistan, the Ministry of SAFRON formulated the Afghan National Policy for Management and Repatriation of Afghan Refugees and presented it to the Cabinet.
The Cabinet in its meeting held on July 25, 2013, extended the validity of Tripartite Agreement on repatriation till December 31, 2015.
Furthermore, by mid-year, the Government of Pakistan in collaboration with Government of Afghanistan and UNHCR will spell out the future course of action regarding the repatriation and sustainable reintegration of returning refugees inside Afghanistan.
MNAs Shahzadi Umerzadi Tiwana, Syed Sajid Mehdi and Moulana Muhammad Khan Sherani; the mover Sher Akbar Khan, MNA and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs were also present in the meeting.