Issuance of Pakistan origin cards to 109 Afghans ordered

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PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court has directed the federal government to issue Pakistan origin card (POC) to 109 Afghan nationals.

The direction was issued by a division bench, comprising Justice Waqar Ahmed and Justice Arshad Ali, while hearing a petition filed by Afghan nationals who have married in Pakistan.

The counsel for the petitioners, Saifullah Muhib Kakakhel, contended before the court that the holder of a POC can enjoy all rights available to the citizens of Pakistan except getting a passport and casting vote in the country.

He argued that not issuing POCs to those Afghan nationals who had married the citizens of Pakistan was unconstitutional. 

The court accepted the request and directed the government to issue the Pakistan origin cards to the petitioners. 

It may be noted that the caretaker government had given the deadline of October 31 for all Afghan nationals illegally living in Pakistan to leave the country or face deportation. So far thousands of such Afghans have returned tot their country.

From Nov 1, the government initiated a nationwide operation to deport illegal foreign nationals, the majority of whom were Afghans, after the deadline to voluntarily leave the country had expired.

The government had given an ultimatum to all undocumented immigrants to leave Pakistan by October 31 or risk imprisonment and deportation to their respective countries. The government decided to keep foreign nationals residing in the country without identity documents in “holding centres” before deporting them to their respective countries.

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