Wednesday October 20, 2021

Ghani criticises Imran Khan’s decision to grant nationality to Bengali, Afghan immigrants

September 18, 2018

KARACHI: Sindh Minister for Local Government Saeed Ghani has expressed his reservations over Prime Minister Imran Khan’s announcement that the children of Afghan and Bengali immigrants born in Pakistan will be given Pakistani nationality, Geo News reported.

The premier in his address at the Diamer-Bhasha dam fundraising event at the Sindh Governor House announced on Sunday that give citizenship to the children of Afghan and Bengali immigrants in view of providing them employment opportunities.

Ghani said that the prime minister should open the doors of his Bani Gala residence for the Bengali and Afghan immigrants if he had got concerns for them.

He criticised Khan for not speaking against the idea of the construction of Kalabagh Dam in his address at the event, adding that the premier’s plan for introducing a master plan for the metropolis was a blatant violation of the 18th amendment.

He said PM Khan’s concerns over solid waste disposal were completely unfounded as Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar in his recent visit to Karachi had expressed satisfaction over the provincial government’s performance.

The local government minister said that the PM should worry about the status of cleanliness in Peshawar rather than Karachi.

AFP adds: Pakistan, one of the world’s largest refugee-hosting nations, is home to roughly 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees, some of whom have lived in the country since fleeing the Soviet invasion of 1979.

There are also roughly a quarter of a million Bengalis, many of whom arrived during Pakistan’s civil war in 1971, when East Pakistan broke away to declare independence and become Bangladesh.

Khan, who visited Karachi on Sunday, told a fundraising dinner that his government would take steps to grant nationality to those who had been there longest.

“The first thing I will do going back [to Islamabad], God willing, is that we will get those people from Bangladesh who are perhaps living here for more than 40 years and their children have grown older, issued passports and national identity cards,” he said.

“And those Afghans whose children have grown older here, who were born in Pakistan, they would also be issued the passports and ID cards,” he continued.

“When you are born in America, you get the American passport. It is the practice in every country in the world, so why not here? How cruel it is for them!”

However, he also noted that Bengali immigrants and Afghan refugees had created an “underclass” in Karachi that had helped fuel street crime in the megacity of more than 20 million people.

Officials confirmed Khan’s comments on Monday and said a draft policy would have to be prepared for the cabinet before legislation could be written and debated in parliament.

The United Nations refugee agency welcomed Khan’s announcement on Monday. “We will continue to work closely with the Government of Pakistan on this issue in the coming weeks,” spokesman Qaiser Khan Afridi told AFP.