Pakistan: Afghan registration picks up pace
Since the recent five-day Eid break (22-26 October) the pace of the government registration of Afghans in Pakistan has doubled. More than 45,000 Afghans in Pakistan have so far been registered in the first two weeks of the largest-ever registration by a host government. This exercise is expected to run from October 15 until the end of the year, and seeks to provide those registered with a Proof of Registration card that is valid for three years and recognises the bearer as an Afghan citizen living temporarily in Pakistan.
The registration is a follow-up of a Pakistan government census of Afghans conducted last year (February/March 2005) that counted just over three million Afghans living in Pakistan. More than 580,000 have returned home with UNHCR assistance since the census, leaving an estimated 2.4 million Afghans still living in Pakistan today.
The Pakistan government's National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has set up 100 registration centres staffed by 2,500 people, while UNHCR and the government's Commissioner for Afghan Refugees (CAR) have deployed 1,000 staff members to support and monitor the exercise.
So far, the United States, the United Kingdom and European Commission have contributed generously towards the US$6 million registration exercise. Pakistan's Ministry of States and Frontier Regions has also mobilised its provincial resources.