Migrant children born in Pakistan have citizenship right: PM Imran Khan
Khan urges parliament to form a policy for migrants
Children who were born in Pakistan to migrants have the automatic right to become a citizen, the prime minister has declared. Imran Khan was commenting on his decision to grant citizenship to Bengali and Afghan immigrants, on the floor of the National Assembly on Tuesday. The Pakistan Citizenship Act, 1951, says that any person born in the country after 1951 is its citizen. “The people who came from Bangladesh, now their children have kids and still they don't have citizenship,” said Imran Khan. These undocumented people are exploited. “A Pakistani worker earns Rs10,000 to Rs20,000. But, these people work for half the price.” "They don't have Pakistani citizenship. They can't leave the country. What will they continue to do? They are humans as well," he said. "If you [the parliament] don't make the decision now, then when will you? You can't send them away forcefully. These people have settled here; they got married here. We need a policy for them." This is a human rights issue, the PM said. Read also: Bengali, Afghan migrants to get ID cards, passports The prime minister said that the UNHCR is working on voluntary rehabilitation for migrants, but the government must also work to help them. "They cannot be non-citizens any more," he urged. On Sunday, Khan had announced that the government would issue national identity cards and passports to migrants from Bangladesh and Afghanistan. He was addressing a fundraising event for dam construction during his first official visit to Karachi. “Terrorism and targeted killings have declined in Karachi but there is a major reason behind street crimes. It is an underclass. They are illiterate and jobless. They are the Bengalis and Afghans who are living in Pakistan,” he said. These immigrants have lived here for decades, their children were born here, but they don't have identity cards and passports, he said. There are around two million Bengali and Burmese migrants in Pakistan. They either do not possess ID cards or their cards have been revoked on suspicion of being illegal immigrants. Pakistan also hosts 1.5million registered Afghan refugees in different provinces and Azad Kashmir.
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