Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah decided to enumerate Afghan refugees living in Sindh, particularly in Karachi, in a meeting with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) representative Ruven Menikwela.
It was an introductory meeting between the UNHCR representative and Shah at the Chief Minister House on Tuesday. They discussed Afghan and other refugees living in Karachi and the rehabilitation of street children.
The UNHCR representative told the chief minister that they have a $200 million fund for rehabilitation of street children. Menikwela agreed to work for the rehabilitation of street children in Karachi if they were given a no-objection certificate to start the work. The Sindh CM directed the provincial home secretary and Karachi commissioner to issue the NoC to UNHCR.
It is said that over 1.5 million homeless children are living on the streets in Pakistan. Of them, 30,000 are in Karachi. The Sindh government has already imposed a ban on child begging and is going to establish shelter homes for their rehabilitation.
Shah said that the provincial government has no idea about the number of Afghan and other nationals living here as refugees. He urged the UNHCR to enumerate them so that necessary measures in terms of water, food and other resources could be made accordingly.
According to a UNHCR report, Pakistan is home to at least 1.38 million registered Afghan refugees. Another million refugees live outside the formal refugee registration system. Over 50,000 Afghan refugees are settled in Karachi, but most circles do not accept these figures.
The chief minister urged UNHCR to recount the Afghan refugees living in Karachi.