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Govt collecting data of refugees, illegal immigrants: Mazari.

Byline: Zahid Chaudhary

The government has started the process of compiling data and statistics of refugees and immigrants, stated Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari whilst regretting that the previous governments did not pay any heed towards this end. She made the remarks in the National Assembly on Tuesday as the opposition parties strongly lashed out at Prime Minister Imran Khan's statement on granting citizenship to Bengali and Afghan refugees terming it irresponsible.

Mazari also criticised the PPP, saying that the party had never bothered to collect data about the people living in Karachi despite being in power for more than a decade.

The Minister however stated that a policy regarding the future status of refugees and immigrants will be devised after consultation with the opposition parties.

She said this matter involves a lot of legal, political and humanitarian obligations which will be considered before taking final decision on the citizenship. She said the issue of Beharis is different from those of Afghan refugees.

She further said that the Citizenship Act of 1951 grants citizenship status to everyone who is born in Pakistan. 'Whether you like it or not, it is the law that those born in Pakistan are Pakistani nationals,' Mazari said, but added that the house could amend the law it can.

Mazari also stated that the forceful eviction of Afghan refugees was not possible. She also stated that the Bengalis could no longer be considered citizens of Bangladesh as they had opted to live in Pakistan.

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Author:Zahid Chaudhary
Publication:Pakistan Observer (Islamabad, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Sep 26, 2018
Words:249
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