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Pakistan Ends Afghan Refugee ID Cards

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    Card issuance to Afghan DPs suspended By Abdul Sami Paracha http://www.dawn.com/cgi-bin/dina.pl?file=nat7.htm&date=20070216 KOHAT, Feb 15: The issuance of
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 6, 2007
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      Card issuance to Afghan DPs suspended
      By Abdul Sami Paracha
      http://www.dawn.com/cgi-bin/dina.pl?file=nat7.htm&date=20070216


      KOHAT, Feb 15: The issuance of three-year resident cards to Afghan
      displaced persons has been suspended on intervention of the UNHCR
      after the number of card holders exceeded the actual figure of
      refugees in Kohat.

      The registration was suspended on Thursday last following doubts
      expressed by UNHCR representatives that after repatriation of Afghan
      refugees during the last five years, the number of the refugees was
      still the same, said Ibrahim Khattak, administrator of the
      Commissionerate of Afghan Refugees.

      "The UNHCR has repatriated thousands of refugees after the Afghan
      presidential polls and before but those who have managed to come back
      somehow are also being issued identity cards for three years. It
      surely means that the whole exercise of registration and the
      repatriation has become doubtful and futile."

      He said there were various reasons creating problems in the
      registration process, like the enormous birth rate among Afghan
      families. According to their estimates, he said, each family had
      increased by three persons since the last census. Another reason is
      the coming back of repatriated refugees.

      Similarly, most of Afghan labourers are not present in their camps at
      the time of census and a vast majority of them do not register,
      fearing forced repatriation."The registration process will remain
      suspended until a report is submitted about the issue to make sure the
      process is carried out in a transparent manner and anomalies are
      removed," he added.

      It is learnt that in a majority of cases, names of some family members
      are missing in the census list on the basis of which the cards are issued.

      Gul Agha, whose father has been refused identity card, said: "We gave
      names of the whole family to the census staff. Our family had cast
      five votes during the Afghanistan presidential elections but nobody
      had questioned them. But now the record has been tampered with. Those
      who can pay money to `Maliks' are being registered and the poor are
      being ignored."

      A survey revealed that Afghan Maliks, in connivance with the Nadra
      staff, had been registering those refugees whose names were not in
      voter or census list on payment of Rs1000 per person.

      The last date for issuing identity cards to refugees had been extended
      twice and the process was to be completed by February 15.

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