July 22, 2024

Courtroom orders issuance of Pakistan Origin Playing cards to over 100 Afghan spouses of Pakistanis

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar Excessive Courtroom (PHC) has permitted functions of greater than 100 Afghan nationals, who’re married to Pakistanis, in search of Pakistan Origin Playing cards (POCs) and ordered authorities to course of their functions as soon as they fulfill authorized formalities and guidelines, attorneys stated on Saturday. 

Based mostly on their marriages with Pakistanis, round 109 Afghan nationals had filed petitions within the court docket in search of POCs, that are issued by Pakistan’s Nationwide Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to foreigners married to Pakistani residents and permits all of them rights besides the rights to vote, contest election or to get a passport. 

A two-member bench of the PHC, headed by Justice Waqar Ahmad and Justice Sayed Arshad Ali, gave the order on Friday after listening to arguments of attorneys representing the petitioners, the federal authorities and the Nationwide Database and Registration Authority (NADRA). 

“This can be a partial judgment and a written verdict can be launched within the subsequent few days,” Advocate Sanaullah Khan, a further lawyer basic who represented the federal authorities, instructed Arab Information. 

“The judgment directed the federal authorities to proceed with their (Afghan spouses) instances to challenge them POCs supplied that the petitioners fulfill established guidelines.” 

The event amid a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following Islamabad’s directive for all undocumented foreigners to go away the nation by November 1. Most of the Afghans have since gone underground, fearing for his or her lives upon return to a Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. 

Pakistan has lengthy been dwelling to greater than 4 million Afghan migrants and refugees and round 1.7 million of them had been undocumented, in accordance with official estimates. Lots of of hundreds extra arrived after the Taliban retook Afghanistan in 2021, becoming a member of the big quantity residing in Pakistan for the reason that Soviet invasion of the neighboring nation in 1979. 

Advocate Saifullah Muhib Kakakhel, who appeared earlier than the court docket on behalf of the petitioners, stated most of his purchasers neither had passports nor different paperwork as they had been born in Pakistan. 

“After listening to arguments from all the perimeters, the august court docket allowed these instances of issuing POCs to Afghan spouses, making them entitled to take pleasure in all advantages besides Pakistani passport and proper to vote,” Kakakhel stated. “It was a brief verdict and the detailed judgement will come later.” 

He stated that NADRA Guidelines (POC) 2002 supplied for the grant of residence permits to spouses of Pakistani residents and denying it will be a “clear violation of their fundamental rights.” 

Advocate Shahid Imran Gigyani, who represented NADRA, stated one of many situations for a foreigner to get the POC was that they will need to have a passport of their nation of origin, however on this specific case, a lot of the petitioners had no paperwork in any respect.  

He stated he had argued earlier than the court docket that these petitioners didn’t fall below the class of foreigners. 

“Our predominant competition earlier than the court docket was that there’s a large distinction between refugees and foreigners. A refugee can’t declare that proper (POC) as a result of they’re already given refugees’ rights, which is outlined in Geneva Conference 1951,” Gigyani stated.  

“However a foreigner is a person who has a sound passport, visa and entry and exit rights.” 

Greater than 370,000 Afghans have left Pakistan since Islamabad ordered them to go away in early October and stated a lot of them had been concerned in militant assaults and different offences. 

Khan Muhammad Babar, an Afghan nationwide and a focal particular person at Peshawar’s Afghan Commissionerate that gives humanitarian help to Afghan refugees, welcomed the judgement, saying the transfer would facilitate hundreds of Afghan spouses and their kids, who’ve been residing in Pakistan for many years. 

“Although the petition mentions 109 spouses solely, however as per my info there are over 1,400 such instances,” he stated. “This choice is a ray of hope for a lot of Afghan spouses that their kids will finally get some kind of recognition, id and homeland a minimum of.” 

Babar stated the transfer by Pakistan to expel undocumented foreigners had put tens of millions of Afghans in bother, alleging that they had been being “harassed” by Pakistani authorities. 

“As per our evaluation, Pakistani authorities have to date expelled virtually 470,000 Afghan refugees through Torkham and Chaman, the 2 predominant border crossings in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and southwestern Balochistan provinces,” he stated. 

“These residing illegally or with out legitimate paperwork needs to be expelled, however in a dignified method. Secondly, Pakistan ought to facilitate these refugees who’ve legitimate paperwork.”