The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government has decided to deport all Afghan refugees living illegally in the province.
The provincial interior department has asked all Afghan nationals to present their resident permits or cards issued by National Database and Registration Authority for verification by June 18.
An operation against illegal immigrants will be launched from May 26. Those who cannot offer any proof of legal stay will be deported to Afghanistan after the expiry of the deadline.
Afghan nationals will be given till end of May to voluntarily return to Afghanistan, failing which the K-P government will take legal action against them.
Commissioners and police officers have been directed to provide data on Afghan refugees in a notification issued by the interior department. Additionally, revenue officials have been asked to provide details of assets and properties registered in the name of Afghan nationals.
The UNHCR has also issued a set of directions for Afghan refugees, asking them to approach their nearest centre for verification of their Proof of Registration (PoR) cards by June 18, the day the verification process will come to an end.
These cards are valid till December 31, after which the federal government will decide about the fate of Afghan migrants residing in the country in consultation with its counterparts in Afghanistan.
The decision to legalise the stay of Afghan refugees by issuing PoR cards was taken by the federal cabinet in March last year.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 27th, 2012.