ISLAMABAD - The National Assembly Standing Committee on States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) on Thursday shown great concern over the illegal inflow of Afghan nationals in Pakistan at large numbers without their registration by the quarters concerned after regime change in Afghanistan.
The committee further expressed its deep concern over free movement of unregistered Afghan nationals without any restrictions and occupying major businesses in the big cities, especially in Karachi and Peshawar, without paying taxes to the government of Pakistan. The committee recommended that the Secretary Ministry of Interior, secretaries home departments of all the provinces would be invited in the next meeting to discuss the issue of unregistered Afghan nationals living mostly in urban areas of Pakistan and chalk out a mechanism to stop them in the border areas.
Ibadullah Khan, MNA chaired the meeting at the Parliament House, Islamabad. Additional Secretary Ministry of SAFRON informed, while briefing the committee, that Pakistan has been generously hosting millions of Afghans for the last four decades. He said that currently, there are three categories of Afghans living in Pakistan that include 1.4 million Registered Proof of Registration (POR) card holders, 840,000 Afghan Citizen Card holders (ACC) and estimated by various agencies 0.7 million undocumented Afghans. Commissioner Afghan Refugees Headquarter also shared the issues/challenges in repatriation of the Afghan refugees, including the insufficient livelihood opportunities and due to the non-conducive environment in Afghanistan. He said that process of repatriation of Afghan refugees remained slow, after withdrawal of US/NATO forces from Afghanistan.
The committee deferred the agenda item regarding alleged possession of FATA House, Islamabad, by the federal government. The said house was constructed from FATA Annual Development Fund for official use by the parliamentarians/officers of FATA with the direction that the Secretary, Ministry of Interior must attend the next meeting to brief the committee on the said issue.