Asylum system in Pakistan

Pakistan is not a party to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees/1967 Protocol and has also not enacted any national legislation for the protection of refugees nor established procedures to determine the refugee status of persons who are seeking international protection within its territory. Such persons are therefore treated in accordance with the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946.

In the absence of a national refugee legal framework, UNHCR conducts refugee status determination under its mandate (Statute of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees adopted by the General Assembly Resolution 428 (V) of 14 December 1950) and on behalf of the Government of Pakistan in accordance with the 1993 Cooperation Agreement between the Government of Pakistan and UNHCR. Pakistan generally accepts UNHCR decisions to grant refugee status and allows asylum-seekers (who are still undergoing the procedure) as well as recognized refugees to remain in Pakistan pending identification of a durable solution.

Afghan refugees: In February 2007, the Government of Pakistan concluded a registration exercise of Afghan refugees living in Pakistan and issued Proof of Registration (PoR) cards to them, which provide temporary legal stay in Pakistan, freedom of movement and exemption from the application of the Foreigners Act, 1946. Approximately 1.34 million Afghans are currently holding PoR cards. These cards are currently valid until 31 March 2017. Only newborn children to Afghan PoR cardholders can still be registered by the Government of Pakistan, while newly arriving Afghans with international protection needs (please see details on what constitutes international protection needs in the below information leaflets) will need to go through the refugee status determination procedure conducted by UNHCR.

Q&A about Resettlement

Q&A about UNHCR’s Advice and Legal Aid Programme