ISLAMABAD: The Home and Tribal Affairs Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Wednesday ordered all commissioners and DIGs to expel Afghan clerics from the province and submit a report over the implementation within seven days.
A home department source old Dawn that there were 294 Afghan peshimams (prayer leaders) in the province and their documentation had been sent to relevant commissioners as part of the National Action Plan.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is taking a tough stand against registered and unregistered Afghans after the killing of 150 people, including 134 children, in the December 16 terrorist attack on Army Public School in Peshawar.
There are fears that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government’s approach to the Afghan refugee crisis will result in the harassment and exploitation of Afghan refugees at the hands of the police. Just this week, a New York Times report described the mistreatment meted out to Afghan refugees in Pakistani camps, with some forced out if they couldn’t pay the police.
Currently, Pakistan hosts 1.6 million Afghan refugees, whom the government has issued the Proof of Registration cards through the National Database Registration Authority and thus, legalising their stay in the country until December 2015.
The number of unregistered Afghan nationals is said to be between two and three million.
The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has spoken against the forceful return of Afghanistan refugees from Pakistan, reminding the government of their obligation to protect all Afghans in the country, including those not registered as refugees.
The recent increase in the repatriation of refugees seem to indicate that the have been coerced into leaving by the local authorities, claimed HRW.
The complications faced by Afghans who have been living in Pakistan was recently highlighted in the case of Sharbat Gula, Steve McCurry’s famed ‘Afghan Girl’ who gained recognition for her haunting eyes on the National Geographic cover.
The photograph was likened to Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of the Mona Lisa. It was also called the First World’s Third World Mona Lisa. Seventeen years later, her “haunting eyes” would prompt Steve McCurry and his team to launch a search for her that ended in Afghanistan in 2002, when she had turned 30.
Nearly 30 years after the initial cover photograph, National Database & Registration Authority has caught up with her, for falsely claiming to be a Pakistani citizen in order to get a Computerised National Identity Card.
The 68th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China.
— The Daily Mail - People's Daily