Commercial activities: ‘Legitimise trade of Afghan refugees’
Petition states that the trade and business of Afghan refugees be governed.
A writ petition was filed in Peshawar High Court seeking laws to regulate residence, trade and businesses of Afghan refugees in Pakistan.
The petition, filed by Muhammad Muazzam Butt Advocate Supreme Court, asks respondents to explain which laws are governing Afghan refugees’ right to obtain houses, shops, offices and reside in settled parts of the country.
The 10 indicated as respondents include the interior secretary, federal secretaries for law, trade and commerce as well as senior officials from the provincial department.
“Afghan refugees are so influential that it is routine for them to (have good terms) with elite officials of the government,” reads the petition. With such high stakes, it would be in the best local, national and international interests to legislate their business and residence matters, it added.
The petition also urged adequate legislation should be enacted and matters should be regularised through the legal system. The respondents are asked to clarify which (if any) authority bestows the right to Afghans to establish shops and conduct business in Pakistan.
“When citizens of Pakistan migrate or engage themselves in business or employment in any country, such engagement is always regulated by the legal system. Afghan refugees conduct business in Pakistan and have shops in every bazaar of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and as per policy are not granted citizenship.”
It is an open secret thousands of Afghan refugees have obtained fake national identity cards, Pakistani passports and valuable properties in the country, the petition stated. It is important to question the economic order and context of “Afghan refugees on the basis of the law of the land, Constitution of Pakistan and international law.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 8th, 2013.