Friday September 22, 2023

1,200 Afghans staying illegally in Peshawar arrested

June 23, 2016

SSP says cops directed not to harass those having PoR cards, travel documents

PESHAWAR: As many as 1,200 Afghan nationals living illegally in the provincial capital were arrested in the last 14 days, a police official said on Wednesday.

“We arrested 1,200 Afghans residing illegally over a period of two weeks. The cops have been directed not to harass those who possess the proof of registration (PoR) cards or are travelling with valid documents,” Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Operations Abbas Majeed Marwat told The News.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are 1.5 million registered Afghan refugees in Pakistan.Independent sources put the number of unregistered Afghans refugees who don’t have any valid documents to legalise their stay at one million.

A crackdown was launched against Afghan refugees who didn’t have PoR cards and other valid travel documents under the National Action Plan (NAP).The NAP was finalized following the terrorist attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar in December 2014.

“The officers are taken to the task when any case of harassing an Afghan with PoR card or legal document comes to our knowledge,” said Abbas Majeed Marwat. According to the SSP Operations, there are cases where the police have information that the Afghans have made fake computerised national identity cards. “In that case due process is followed and legal action is taken after verification from Nadra,” he added.

According to police, tens of thousands of Afghans have made fake CNICs not only in Peshawar but in rest of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata. This has resulted into the blocking of CNICs of thousands of locals as the authorities suspected them to be Afghans.

Thousands of Afghans come to Pakistan daily via Torkham border and other crossing points for medical treatment or to visit their relatives and purchase goods from the markets in Peshawar. Many Afghans also visit government and private hospitals in Peshawar for treatment.

Inspector General of Police Nasir Khan Durrani and other officials took up the issue on a number of times that those crossing the border must be issued temporary passes or visas so that they could be registered while entering Pakistan.

The IGP suggested that health visa counters should be set up at Torkham border to immediately allow those coming to hospitals after registering their details. The purpose was to stop the entry of criminals and terrorists. According to the police, most of the attacks staged in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata are planned in Afghanistan.

The authorities have recently installed a border management system so that those entering Pakistan can be registered. However, the issue resulted in a clash between the forces of the two countries in which soldiers and civilians were killed and injured. The Afghan authorities are against border management until the two sides agree on it.

The Torkham border was reopened after six days of closure.