PESHAWAR: Law-enforcement agencies continue to take action against Afghan nationals who lack proof of registration (PoR) cards even though Chief Minister Pervez Khattak has given a series of assurances to ensure they are not harassed.
Earlier, the CM had announced that Afghan refugees lacking PoR cards or other documents to validate their stay in the country will not be detained and FIRs will not be registered against them under the foreigners act.
However, reports from different parts of Peshawar reveal Afghan nationals lacking PoR cards remain prime targets for the police. The refugees are not only being rounded up by the police in raids and operations but also by policemen who are on patrol duty.
Ghulam Hussain, an Afghan national who resides in Gulabad area of Nothia Jadeed, was picked up by police officials on Saturday. Before his arrest, Hussain was packing his belongings to return to his motherland. However, he was released before the police registered an FIR after elders intervened on behalf of Hussain.
Similarly, a woman from Gulberg told The Express Tribune her only son was rounded up by the police on Sunday. “He has been arrested and booked under the foreigners act,” she said. She was now facing problems in packing her belongings to return to her country.
A couple of days back, Said Rehman, along with his eight brothers was arrested from Gulabad. He was booked and deported to Afghanistan under the foreigners act.
“We have not received any written directives from Khattak to give relaxations to refugees lacking PoR card till November 15,” an official from Gulberg police told The Express Tribune. According to the official, senior personnel of the police ordered action against unregistered Afghans residing in the city.
K-P Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser confirmed the relaxation for unregistered refugees. Qaisar added he intends to contact the IGP in this respect. ANP leader Sardar Hussain Babak also confirmed Khattak’s commitment to allow relaxations to Afghan nationals.
JUI-F Chairperson Maulana Fazlur Rahman urged the government to extend the stay of Afghans till 2021 in the wake of uncertain situation across the border in Afghanistan. PTI Chairperson Imran Khan also directed the K-P government to maintain good relations with Afghans.
At least 300 Afghans booked and sentenced under the foreigners act till Sunday are in Peshawar jail awaiting deportation. Amongst these inmates, 20 people were brought from Kohat.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 7th, 2016.