This was the consensus at a seminar on refugees in Pakistan organised by a NGO Society for Human Rights and Prisoners Aid (SHARP) in a local hotel in Quetta today.
Addressing the seminar former Senator Farhatullah Babar said that born amidst refugee crisis and hosting millions of refugees for the past decades Pakistan was no stranger to refugees issue. What is strange however is the absence of a holistic state policy and legislative framework to address the issues, he said.
Refugees issue is humanitarian but is disturbing that we playing political foot ball with the refugees.
He said that there is no complete and reliable data on migrants, refugees and stateless people in Pakistan. Data collection must occupy the foremost priority for any policy planning.
Refugees rehabilitation calls for dialogue among the provinces which at present does not exist.
Climate change is a new elephant in the room forcing migration within the national borders as in Balochistan. The South Asian region is witnessing unprecedented climate change and there is need for a regional dialogue taking into account climate refugees, he Said
He called for a full implementation of Refugee Management Policy approved by the cabinet in Feb 2017 declaring proof of residence (PoR) cards as valid till a law was formulated and the tripartite agreement on refugees between Pakistan, Afghanistan and UNHCR implemented in letter and spirit.
The seminar was also addressed by senator Afrasiab Khattak, Senator Usman Kakar, Afghan consul general in Quetta Wahid ullah Mohamand Agha Hassan Baloch. CEO SHARP Liaqat Banori and others.
Speakers highlighted that national Refugees Law should also address problems of Pakistani men married to refugee women, of Pakistani women married to refugee men and, not to forget, the problems faced by the Chinese wives of Pakistani citizens in Gilgit-Baltistan.
Senator Farhat ullah Babar proposed that Senate of Pakistan, as the House of Federation should form “Committee of the Whole” to discuss and make recommendations as it did some time back on FATA reforms.