Karachi, Pakistan – Prime Minister Imran Khan has pledged to implement existing Pakistani laws that would grant citizenship to all Afghan and Bangladeshi refugees requiring they were born on the Pakistani soil, which is indeed a major departure from the previous prevailing policy.
Pakistan has been home to Afghanis and Bangladeshis since quite a time now. These people have lived in Pakistan for as long as many decades and so long that a great toll of these refugees has even been born here in our country. Currently, Pakistan is home to more than 1.39 million registered Afghan refugees, according to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), many of whom have been resident in the country for more than 30 years.
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In addition to this, there are about more than 200,000 ethnic Bangladeshis living in Pakistan out of which a greater number of these people live in the southern city of Karachi. Many of these migrants were stranded in the city after the 1971 war in which Bangladesh (which was then East Pakistan), gained its independence and separated from Pakistan.
The Afghan refugees have continuously been regarded as a security threat to the Country, however, Prime Minister Khan believes that these people are not a threat, in fact, they deserve to live here, given they have spent more than 40 years in our country.
Afghan refugees came to Pakistan from its western neighbor since decades ago where they came by fleeing from the Soviet Invasion in the 1970s, and then the civil war that broke out. And after this, a new batch of refugees came after the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 which also brought along Taliban war to the country.
As per the top news Earlier yesterday, When Imran Khan came to Karachi on a one-day visit for an event that was held for the collection of dam funds, he said in his speech,
“These poor migrants from Bangladesh, they have been here for more than 40 years, their children are grown now … we will give them passports and ID cards, as well as those Afghans whose children have been raised here, who were born here, we will also give them [citizenship],”
“This happens in every country in the world, why is it that here we are inflicting such an injustice on these people?”
According to the current news, this announcement made by PM Khan is a departure from the previous policy followed by previous governments. This could see the prime minister face confrontation with the country’s powerful military, which has often blamed Afghan refugees for violence in Pakistan and has regarded the refugees as a security threat to the country.
As per the Pakistani Law, all those people born in this country are allowed citizenship except the children of the foreign diplomats in addition to this, those who migrated away from the territories that became Pakistan after the partition of the subcontinent in 1947are also not granted Pakistani citizenship.