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. The Documentation Verification and Information Verification (DRIVE) exercise is currently taking place led by the GoP and supported by UNHCR. All PoR card holders verified through this exercise will receive new smart PoR cards with a 2-year validity.

For more information on how to access asylum in Pakistan, please see