Certainly very positive & encouraging sign among refugees living in frustration & despondency in Pakistan - However such move from Pakistan Tehrik e Insaf [PTI] were applauded among intellectual and civil society - saying its PTI who assumed office just month before but seems keen and courageous to tackle ‘’refugees issue’’ the most discussant subject in the country that kept unattended by the predecessors or deliberately it was leftover. But this is Imran Khan who wants to resolve such a decade long issue giving rights to the refugees to live legally in Pakistan.
Refugees living in the country are deprived off legal rights, their identity has not been recognized resulting they are underprivileged they have been barred economically, legally, morally & socially they have no stake in govt. even though their progeny have 30-40 years long stay in the country, it’s a second generation but has no legal status, premier stressed.
The premier indicated that passports would be given not only to children who were born and brought up in the country but also to their parents who spent their good amount of life in Pakistan. They are humans, how have we deprived them for 30, 40 years?' the prime minister said
The prime minster must not take back his decision even though there is backlash from the opposition, ‘’you should not be afraid of such pressure building tactics and unnecessary hue and cry that opposition generally does, take a concrete stands and do a meaningful debate in the assembly taking views of other parliamentarian on this subject’’, said an octogenarian who have seen all ups and down in the country.
“If you are born in America you get an American passport," he said. "It happens in all countries around the world so why not here? Said IK
The scribe has grandson in Canada he was born & he got Canadian passport whereas her mother was living as immigrant, she also would get her passport as she completes her 900 days prescribed to secure nationality.
“Those Afghans whose children are born here and have grown up in Pakistan we will also, God willing, get [passports] for them.
“Why are they treated without dignity? They are humans, how have we deprived them for 30, 40 years?” Said IK
IK also promised citizenship for the more than 250,000 Bengalis in Pakistan.
The announcement was criticized by Pakistan People’s Party, its minister Saeed Ghani saying ‘’granting citizenship to people he described as "illegal immigrants".
I believe Saeed Ghani does not know the definition of Refugee, ‘’an exile who flees for safety’’ if the country goes in WAR or CIVIL STRIFE is erupted then civilian moves to adjoining states and takes shelter - such immigrants are called refugee, said a professor admonishing Saeed Ghani.
So their entry in any country does not follow with a legible contract but just an entry saving their lives like people from Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Yamen, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Burma people wo came from WAR-TORN area and moved for temporary-housing for homeless an displaced that fall under refugee definition.
As far as ‘’work permit’’ it should have been given earlier when the slot [refugee] came in Pakistan 30-40 years before, but staying for such a longer period required to accept their nationality and they deserve [unequivocally] to be regularized and giving them legal rights…………a phenomenon of ownership claims as per standing practices applicable across the globe.
An identity that they are Pakistani so that they can get employment, a legible house instead to live in make shift home, can get NIC & Passport, can get admission in educational institution, can be benefited with public institutions, public services industries, they can live freely without harassment – a valid NIC will be enabling them to get every amenities of life - health and education without barrier that we as a citizen of Pakistan are getting from govt. institutions
No doubt IK ambition to grant citizenship for ‘’refugees’’ is praiseworthy and decision to be finalized either through a concrete debate in the assembly or though voting system giving the refugees a nationality to induct them as Pakistani.
Pakistan has the largest refugee population in the world, according to the UN. Afghans began pouring into the country when their homeland was invaded in 1979 and by the end of 2001, following the US invasion, there were an estimated 4 million refugees living there.
Quoting UN High Commission for Refugees [UNHCR] there are more than 1.4 million registered Afghan Refugees in Pakistan, with around 1 million of those being second or third generation.
Other estimates put the total number of Afghans as high as 2.5 million, including between 600,000 and 1 million unregistered refugees.
Around 60 per cent were born in Pakistan, suggesting around 1.5 million refugees would benefit from the citizenship proposal.
Human rights activists welcomed the announcement. “Pakistan has been host to one of the largest refugee populations in the world and granting citizenship to those eligible seems to be a logical next step both legally and morally,” said Saroop Ijaz, a representative for Human Rights Watch.
“This move is an important first step in ending the discrimination faced by refugee and migrant communities.”
The premier further said that undocumented immigrants from Bangladesh too will be given passports, it was estimated that there were 2 million living in Pakistan in 2012
Refugees from Aghanistan
UNHCR Pakistan Factsheet - July 2018 says that 9,821 Afghan registered refugees (PoR cardholders) repatriated to Afghanistan from 1 March – 31 July 2018 - 14,682 Afghan refugee births registered from 1 January – 31 July 2018 - 1,368 IDP individuals (228 families) returned to their areas of origin in Pakistan since 1 January 2018.
Pakistan has taken in Afghan refugees since the 1970s and until today, there is an estimated 2 million Afghan refugees living in Pakistan - However, last year, Pakistan tightened its refugee policy and since then the UNHCR estimates close to 400,000 Afghans have been repatriated, the Associated Press reported. Jun 20, 2017
Of the 2 million refugees in Pakistan, the UNHCR says many have lived in the country for about 30 years.
In 2016, nearly 400,000 refugees returned to their homeland during a campaign by Pakistan.
Last year, about 60,000 came back again, said a senior Pakistani government official.
Pakistan will not force some 2 million Afghan refugees in the country to leave but encourages voluntary repatriation - as the legal stay of around 1.4 million registered refugees in Pakistan will end on March 31 2017.
Biharies In Bangladesh
Alter fall of East Pakistan when Bangladesh came into being on 16th Dec 1971 – about 100, 000 Bengali did not accept Bangladesh citizenship but remain adamant and kept their patriotism continue with Pakistan and still they are stick to their unshattered love with us.
Though as a punishment they [Behari] have been isolated & dejected by Bangladesh govt. but they are living in make shift camps, with desperate straits - their progeny have even grownup and it’s a matter of 46 years they are still Pakistani with unchanged loyalty with Pakistan.
They [Beharies] did not beg or joined Bangladesh govt……..does it not say unparalleled sacrifices for Pakistan and still on the name of Pakistan passing their life miserably in Bangladesh, said a seasoned politician……..really they are patriot.
Considering their unprecedented patriotism, nationalism, loyalty, trueness, faithfulness & willingness to sacrifice for Pakistan [which still they have] we must call them, induct them in Pakistan and giving them a legal rights to live in the country as a peaceful citizen of Pakistan.
Refugee from Rohingya
In Urdu they are known as PAKISTANI BURMEE living in Karachi Sindh, they belong to Rakhine state Myanmar also known as Arakan, Burma who fled their homeland because of the persecution of Muslims by the Burmese govt. and Buddhist majority.
According to varied Pakistani government sources and the Arakan Historical Society, there are some 200,000 Rohingya refugees residing in Pakistan - In the recent years, scores of Burmese women seeking employment have entered the country, different resources cite the number of these women to be in the thousands.
Today, according to Khwaja, between 200,000 and 300,000 Burmese are living in Karachi. Sep 14, 2017 - There are numerous Burmese housing colonies that can be found throughout Karachi.
Refugees from Bangladesh
According to community leaders and social scientists, there are over 1.6 million Bengalis living in Karachi starting from General Ayub Khan's regime that continued migrating to Karachi in small numbers till the end of General Ziaul Haq's military government.
Around 300,000 Bengalis residing in Karachi in the years immediately after the Partition, most of them worked in garments factories or as domestic workers and chauffeurs, says Khwaja Salman Khairuddin who heads a political party, Pak Muslim Alliance that is active among Karachi’s Bengali community. His father, Khwaja Khairuddin, was one of the main leaders of the movement for the creation of Pakistan and was a mayor of Dhaka in the 1960s when the city was the capital of East Pakistan.
The total number of Bengalis currently living and working in Karachi, according to an informal survey carried out by his party, is around 2 million.
They [Bengali] are scattered in about 105 settlements across the city, including Orangi Town (in district west), Ibrahim Hyderi and Bilal Colony (in Malir district), Ziaul Haq Colony and Moosa Colony (in district central), Machar Colony and Lyari’s Bengali Para (in district south).
These settlements are generally located either close to the sea or next to industrial areas since most of their residents work in fishing-related businesses or as laborers in factories..
Iranians living in Lyari and in southern Baluchistan together numbering approximately 10,000 – where 40 per cent of Iranians living in Lyari and Baluchistan’s Pasni and Panjgur areas may have just lost their Pakistani citizenship in the past year or so.
Therefore IK must be serious to nationalize all cited above refugees living in Pakistan – they can be accommodated across the province or can be dispatched the whole slot to Baluchistan as it’s a big province in terms of lands though its population is lesser than other province in Pakistan.