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Expelled Chitrali families win back Pakistani citizenship

A bench of the court, comprising Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel and Justice Ghazanfar Ali Khan, gave  the ruling on a petition filed by the families through their counsel Muhibullah Terichvi Advocate. In the petition, the lawyer stated that in 1951 the then rulers of Chitral expelled the families belonging to Gahiret village as a punishment (reasons unknown) after which they moved to Afghanistan and settled there. When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in the late 1970s, these 65 families along with millions of other people from Afghanistan migrated to Pakistan as refugees in 1982. The 65 families came back to Chitral and started living in a refugee camp along with Afghan refugees. When these Chitrali-origin people applied for national identity cards, their applications were turned down by the authorities concerned and later by the local courts on the ground that they had already been receiving rations and other facilities as Afghan refugees and could not claim the citizenship of Pakistan. The decisions of the courts in Chitral and the federal government’s delaying tactics were challenged in the PHC in 2011 by Ameer Sawat Khan through the senior lawyer, Mr Terichvi, which after conducting a number of hearings spanning many years announced its judgment today. The court directed the federal government to issue the families the Pakistani national identity cards and ensure them all other facilities as permissible under the Constitution for the citizens of the country.      ]]>

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