PM Imran defends plan to grant citizenship to Afghan, Bangladeshi refugees

  • He says children born in Pakistan have the right to be called Pakistani

ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday reiterated his pledge to grant citizenship to all Pakistan-born refugees of Afghan and Bangladeshi origins.

Addressing a session of the National Assembly, the prime minister cited citizenship act of 1951 saying it guarantees citizenship to anyone born in Pakistan.

He highlighted that numbers of problems will stem from this issue if it was not settled in time, adding refugees, according to an international law, could not be repatriated forcefully.

“Numbers of refugees living in Karachi since long but they have not been granted citizenship,” Khan lamented, adding, “Refugees are too human beings”.

Children born in Pakistan have the right to be called Pakistani, the prime minister asserted.

The prime minister sought suggestions from the members of the National Assembly on the matter, adding that no final decision in this regard has been taken so far.

During his visit to Karachi on September 16, Imran Khan had vowed to grant citizenship to Afghan and Bangladeshi refugees, a plan which was hailed internationally but draw ire from some segments of Pakistan.

According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Pakistan is home to more than 1.39 million registered Afghan refugees. Around 200,000 ethnic Bangladeshis are also living in Karachi.