Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday sought the National Assembly’s advice for granting citizenship to Pakistan-born children of Afghan and Bangladeshi migrants.
Addressing a session of the country’s lower house, the prime minister said that he wants to take this decision on humanitarian grounds as refugees after living in the country for so many years they should be issued identity cards.
Khan said that granting citizenship to Pakistan-born refugees will also bring down the crime rate as the refugees, who mostly work as laborers as they are not allowed to apply for jobs in government sector, currently get much lower wages than local laborers and get inclined to criminal activities.
Supporting his argument, the prime minister said that the country’s Citizenship Act, 1951, states that every person born in Pakistan has the right to get its nationality.
Citing example of Bangladeshi refuges, Khan said that even their grandchildren were born in Pakistan, but they have not been granted citizenship yet.
Earlier, addressing a fund raising ceremony for dams, the prime minister vowed to give national identity cards and passports to Afghan and Bengali migrants.
Opposition and allies of the government raised concerns of the remarks.
However, the prime minister also said no decision has yet been taken and he invites lawmakers to hold debate and float suggestions about giving nationality to those who born in Pakistan as the country’s law allows citizenship to those who born here.