ISLAMABAD Interior Ministry on Monday has started taken advance measures to grant citizenship to Pakistani-born Afghan and Bengali refugees however, the ministry is waiting for formal written order in this regard.

Sources privy to interior ministry told that federation has directed all four provinces to forward data of unregistered Afghans, Bengalis and other foreign nationals with their current residences.
Sources added interior ministry possesses data of as many as 1.3 mln Afghan refugees, albeit it is unaware of their current residences.

According to rough estimate, 80pc of unregistered Afghanis have returned to refugee camps.

The premier—during his Karachi visit—has announced to grant citizenship to Pakistani-born Afghan and Bengali refugees. The announcement came at time when relations between Kabul and Islamabad have dipped to new low.

About 2.5 million Afghans, many of whom fled their homeland after it was invaded by the Soviet Union in 1979, live in Pakistan, home to the world s second-largest refugee population.