LAHORE: Iqbal Town police have identified houses of Afghan refugees living in its jurisdiction and painted AH (short for Afghan House) on the doors followed by a serial number as part of its efforts to implement the National Action Plan, The Express Tribune has learnt.
The police have also collected information from these houses about the number of residents, their gender and ages.
The police have marked 300 houses and recorded data about 1,000 Afghan refugees in Sanda, Bund Road, T-4 and T-5 neighbourhoods.
Iqbal Town SP Muhammad Iqbal Khan said only the houses of people in possession of Afghan refugee cards were marked. He said people who could not produce either an Afghan refugee card or a Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs) during the raids were being detained for questioning.
The SP said the marking of houses was undertaken to ensure improved security arrangements in the area.
He said once the survey of Afghan refugees was complete, the police would be better equipped to undertake occasional raids to their neighbourhoods and check if anyone was hosting a guest from out of the city. He hoped that the AH (painted in red and white colours) and a serial number painted on the entrance of the house would also serve as a reminder to the residents to avoid hosting outsiders at their houses.
Khan said the decision to mark the houses was taken after he learnt that the police teams assigned the task to search neighbourhoods of Afghan refugees could never cover all houses in these areas. “The teams would frequently miss some houses or raid some more than once in a day,” he said.
SP Khan said that in the next phase the Iqbal Town police intended to mark the houses of pakhtuns. He clarified that houses of pakhtuns who were Pakistani citizens would not be marked.
He said the number of pakhtuns living in the Iqbal Town division was expected to be at least a hundred thousand.
Iqbal Town is the only division in the city so far to have marked the houses of Afghan refugees.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 23rd, 2015.