Pakistan gives 1 million Afghan refugees biometric ID cards for government services

More than one million Afghan refugees residing in Pakistan are expected to have easier and easier access to some public services now that the government in Islamabad has issued them ID cards with integrated biometrics.

According to a report by The news, the cards were issued after a month of verifying the identity of the applicants. It will help holders access education, health and financial services, and other services.

The ID is embedded in a microchip containing the holder’s biometric data and will be valid until June 2023. The program is part of the documentation renewal and information verification exercise (CONDUCT) – a framework that debuted last year with support from the United Nations Refugee Agency and the National Database Registration Authority (NADRA).

Biometric registration for identification was completed last year and around 100,000 cards had been issued by September. Authorities expect up to 1.4 million identity cards to be issued to Afghan refugees.

Refugee cards are integrated into all systems in Pakistan, allowing refugees, like Pakistani citizens, to have their identity authenticated when seeking to access services, the report explains.

Muhammad Saleem Khan, Pakistan’s chief commissioner for Afghan refugees, says the program is needed to verify the identity of refugees. Islamabad needed to update information on their needs and help them access important services more easily and securely. The official claims that the identity verification had not taken place for 10 years.

“Nearly one million smart ID cards have been issued to date with validity until June 30, 2023, with children under the age of five included in their parents’ cards…Detailed information on the The socio-economic situation of the refugees will enable us to help them with self-reliance in Pakistan and offer more tailored support to those who wish to return as conditions in Afghanistan allow,” Saleem Khan told The News.

The official also revealed that the verification process was possible thanks to the efforts of the Pakistani government and staff of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, who traveled to the refugee sites registering them under the framework. mobile caravans.

About 40 verification points, he added, were used in the program which also included an “awareness campaign” which informed refugees of the importance of the card and how to verify in order to obtain the biometric card.

Article topics

biometric cards | biometrics | digital identification | identity document | identity verification | NADRA | pakistan | registration of refugees | The United Nations

Ashley C. Reynolds