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Govt to issue new smartcards for Afghan refugees

ISLAMABAD: The government has announced to issue new smartcards for Afghan refugees having ‘Proof of Registration’ (POR) cards after a verification drive this year.

The Chief Commissionerate for Afghan Refugees, Ministry of States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) and National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) with the support of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will start the exercise of “Document Renewal and Information Verification Exercise” drive from next month.

During this six-month exercise, NADRA will verify and update the data of registered Afghan refugees who are in possession of a PoR card with an expiry date of 31 December 2015.

The initiative takes place within the framework of the Support Platform for the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees, fostering renewed partnerships and stronger strategic linkages between humanitarian and development investments.

Upon verification of their data, these Afghan refugees will receive new PoR smartcards. The new smartcards will provide Afghan refugees with renewed proof of their identity, enhancing their protection in Pakistan, and will help facilitate identity authentication making access to services faster, safer and more effective.

The UNHCR Representative in Pakistan, Noriko Yoshida, appreciated the government for this initiative to help improve the lives of Afghan refugees in Pakistan.

The NADRA spokesperson said the multi-biometric PoR cards would be issued as part of this exercise during which specialised staff and state-of-art infrastructure would be utilised.

Pakistan hosts 1.4 million Afghan refugees who hold PoR cards. In addition to validating existing data, the verification will record Afghan refugees’ skill sets, level of education, socio-economic circumstances and sources of income.