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SHC dismisses plea seeking prohibition of registration of cases against Afghan refugees

By Our Correspondent
February 06, 2023

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has dismissed a petition seeking protection of several human rights and prohibition of registration of cases against the Aghan nationals who had come to Pakistan for purpose of asylum.

Petitioners Moniza Hina and Samar Abbas had submitted in their plea that thousands of Afghan nationals had shifted to Pakistan for refuge after the departure of the allied forces from Afghanistan and fall of Kabul in August 2021.

They submitted that more than 400 Afghan refugees who were having proof of registration and Afghan citizen card were arrested by the police under the Foreigners Act, which was against the tripartite agreement and these Afghan nationals could not be charged as illegal immigrants.

They submitted that human rights situation in Afghanistan had deteriorated and if the Afghan refugees were deported, their lives would be in danger. The petitioners’ counsel, Sathi M Ishaque, submitted that Afghan asylum seekers were entitled to certain rights under the constitution of Pakistan, international customary law and international treaties signed by Pakistan, including the right to non-refoulement.

He requested the high court to direct the federal and provincial governments to not lodge any criminal cases against the Afghan asylum seekers and secure their fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution. He also requested the SHC to keep Afghan asylum seekers in special camps till approval of their POR cards and stop their deportation.

A division bench of the SHC headed by chief justice Ahmed Ali M Sheikh after a preliminary hearing of the petition dismissed it as not maintainable.