No decision to grant citizenship to refugees, says HR Minister


News Desk |

The government has not yet decided to grant citizenship to refugees, said Federal Minister for Human Rights Sheeren Mazari in her policy statement in the National Assembly while responding to call attention notice.

Minister said that the government will take all opposition parties on board before taking final decision and asked political parties to furnish their proposal on the issue.

She said that preceding regimes didn’t pay attention to this issue whereas the incumbent government after collecting refugees’ data will produce it before the parliament as it has no intention to hide anything from the nation.

She said that the previous governments entered into eight agreements with the United Nation not to send back the refugees.

She clarified that Prime Minister spoke to grant citizenship to the refugees in view of the human rights but the decision will be taken with consultation of national political leadership.

Akhtar Mehngal, Nafeesa Shah, Rabbani Khar, Syed Rafeeh and Agha Hassan Baloch raised the issue.

Akhtar Mengal said that the matter should be discussed in the national assembly for debate instead of sending it to the committees. He said that we cannot give up our national entity and identity in the name of human rights.

Shireen Mazari said that Citizenship Act 1951 confers a right on everyone to become citizen of Pakistan whose birth took place in Pakistan.

She said, this is a legal issue and parliamentary committee will discuss on it first and then the matter will be put up for debate in the national assembly.

She said that we cannot forcefully expel anybody form the country.

She said that Islamic tradition also support giving rights of living to refugees if they have moved in.

Nafeesa Shah, PPP MNA, criticized Prime Minister’s statement regarding granting citizenship. She said that the government didn’t talk about the rights of the Pakistanis who migrated within the country and are residing in Karachi but it wants to give citizenship to foreigners.

Shireen Mazari said that this is the government which for the first time ever is going to collect the data of the refugees. Births are taking place on daily basis without any registration, so we have to formulate a policy on the issue.