150,000 Afghans will be granted long-term visas

Published: February 1, 2012

Safron has consent of all provincial governments, senior official from the ministry tells The Express Tribune. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

The federal minister for states and frontier regions (Safron), Engr. Shaukatullah, has said that 150,000 Afghan refugees in Pakistan are likely to be granted visa permits for a long-term stay in the country.

Shaukat told The Express Tribune that his ministry has prepared a comprehensive proposal to arrange the visas for businessmen, students, skilled workers and widows who are among the Afghan refugees, some of whom have lived in Pakistan for 30 years.

“The proposals are being finalised and will be implemented after approval,” the minister said. “We have been working with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees on the proposals for quite some time.”

Safron has the consent of the all provincial governments on the issue, a senior official from the ministry told The Express Tribune.

However, another official from the ministry of interior said a couple of provincial governments, including Punjab, have expressed reservations. The intelligence agencies and law enforcement departments are also worried over the proposals, as they could cause numerous security problems.

The official said the provincial governments are likely to express their opposition once the policy is made public.   Shaukat is of the view that the proposals do not require approval by the federal cabinet or the ministry of provincial coordination. “The federal cabinet has nothing to do with the proposals,” he said.

According to the official estimate, 1.7 million registered and 1 million non-registered Afghan refugees live in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the ministry of foreign affairs has vehemently rejected proposals by certain Western countries that suggested absorbing the entire Afghan refugee population in Pakistan permanently. “The suggestions came during the last general assembly sessions of the United Nation,” said an official from the ministry.

“Those Western countries who are advocating the permanent stay for Afghan refugees should also share the financial burden of Pakistan.”

Published in The Express Tribune, February 1st, 2012.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • zK
    Feb 1, 2012 - 11:04AM

    How about those western countries absorbing the population themselves! Thanks to dreaded Gen Zia, these Afghans have basically helped multiply the already existing problems in this country. Its quite evident from the history that the Afghans have always harbored ill feelings and hate this country…than why such benevolence ?

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  • Pakistani
    Feb 1, 2012 - 12:38PM

    and yet they call us enemies

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  • ava
    Feb 1, 2012 - 3:35PM

    This is not right. Afghanis always blame Pakistan and support India regardless. In times of crisis they always look to Pakistan and Pakistan helps and then they stab Pakistanis in the back and support India. Afghanis cannot be trusted.

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  • Someone
    Feb 4, 2012 - 10:51AM

    This is ridiculous. The men at the top have lost their brains of running this country. Just when we thought we were getting rid of these Afghans who are a total liability, here’s a proposal for an extension. Thanks a bunch mister “Engr. Shaukatullah”.

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  • Haha lol
    Feb 4, 2012 - 10:53AM

    Looks like terrorism is here to stay in Pakistan for another long time. The heading of this article should be “Proposals for long-term visa grants to terrorism”

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  • Ajmal Iqbal
    Feb 4, 2012 - 10:55AM

    What!! Why??!!

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  • Sayed
    Mar 16, 2012 - 2:41AM

    Dear All,

    I am an Afghan National was born here in Peshawar, Pakistan and now I am 30 years old. I never been to Afghanistan and I feel my self a Pakistani Citizen more then any real Pakistani so please think positive all Afghans are not equal.

    Currently a Human Being living age in these countries such Pakistan, Afghanistan and India are maximum 60 or 70 years and The children’s like us spent almost half of his live in Pakistan as a refugee without any Identity What is our sin Why Pakistani Army establishment and Government gave hand to CIA earn Dollars and destroy our country through some Jihadi Commanders and even after Russians quitting Afghanistan.

    At the end I just want to tell to all above people that your leaders open your borders for Afghans just for earning Dollars and they also ruined the life’s of children’s like us.

    So do not be angry at this decision because either you want or not the Afghans like me who was born here and now in the midden of his age will acquire Pakistani Nationality by giving some bribe because you all Pakistani’s just want to earn money.

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