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1.4 million Afghans Will Be Issued Biometric Identification Cards

September 22, 2021

As part of the countrywide campaign to issue renewed Proof of Registration (PoR) cards, the National Data­base and Registration Authority (Nadra) has updated the details of over 500,000 registered Afghan refugees.In a statement issued here on Tuesday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) stated that approximately 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees were being verified and issued with new biometric cards through 35 sites and four mobile units.

According to the statement, UNHCR Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific Indrika Ratwatte visited a DRIVE Centre in Peshawar and was briefed on the process.

The country’s last large-scale verification of Afghan refugees, known as the Documentation Renewal and Information Verification Exercise (DRIVE), took place ten years ago.According to the statement, the drive was being carried out by the Commissionerate for Afghan Refugees with the assistance of the UN refugee agency and was expected to be completed within a year.

Mr. Ratwatte said that “I applaud Pakistan’s progress with this exercise. It is a global leader in developing a high-tech refugee registration platform that enables refugee protection and solutions”.

Nadra has printed and distributed 100,000 new smartcards to Afghan refugees who have registered. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa currently has the highest number of registered refugees living in cities and refugee camps.A lot has changed in the ten years since the last large-scale exercise in Pakistan. The refugee smartcards are an important tool for protection, allowing the government and UNHCR to have up-to-date information on the refugee population, including vulnerabilities, skills, and education levels, to better inform service and assistance provision.

The smart PoR cards, which will be valid until June 2023, are legal proof of identity with enhanced security features. These cards are also technologically compatible with systems used in Pakistan to authenticate nationals’ identities in order for them to access services.According to the UN agency, the DRIVE is also part of a larger effort to find solutions for Afghan refugees, specifically through the Support Platform for the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees. The exercise will aid in the collection of data on the refugees’ educational and professional backgrounds. It stated that Covid-19 risks were being mitigated at all DRIVE sites through improved hygiene, physical separation, and the scheduling of a set number of appointments each day.

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