Pakistan: Afghan registration nears half million mark
Close to half a million Afghans have been registered in Pakistan in an ongoing government exercise to provide official documentation to Afghans who arrived in Pakistan after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in late 1979.
Since the exercise started on October 15, Pakistan's National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has registered some 490,000 Afghans. More than half of them were registered in North West Frontier Province, 22 percent in Balochistan, 15 percent in Punjab, 10 percent in Sindh and 1.3 percent in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
The registration exercise is expected to continue through the end of the year, targeting an estimated 2.4 million Afghans in Pakistan who were counted in a 2005 census that preceded registration. Registered Afghans receive a Proof of Registration card that is valid for three years and recognizes the bearer as an Afghan citizen temporarily living in Pakistan.
The US$6 million exercise is the largest-ever registration by a host government of a mixed and protracted situation. It has so far received funds from the European Commission, the United States and the United Kingdom.