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1.4M Afghan refugees in Pakistan to receive new biometric ID cards

Biometrics and digital ID

Pakistan’s National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has begun issuing biometric identity smartcards to the 1.4 million Afghan refugees already registered in the country. The upgrade came from an agreement between Pakistan’s Ministry of State & Frontier Regions (SAFRON) and the UNHCR, reports Gulf News.

This new generation of the Proof of Registration (PoR) cards uses the same technology as the mainstream ID system – the Computerized National Identity Cards (CNICs). The PoR biometric smartcards should allow holders to access more services including banking. Refugees will have their identities verified as part of the exercise, reports Dawn.

Issuance began Tuesday and the aim is to complete the upgrade by the end of the year. The biometric cards are valid for two years. The initiative is part of the overall government-led, UNHCR-supported Documentation Renewal and Information Verification Exercise (DRIVE) to assist displaced Afghans. Refugees will receive an SMS with details of their collection appointments.

The exercise will also collect data on the educational and professional backgrounds of the refugees as well as sources of income, to inform government policy.

Afghan refugees returning to their home country will be given $250, but have to surrender their biometric cards, reports Gulf News.

The 1.4 million smartcards will be issued to those refugees already registered, but it is believed there are a further 1.4 million unregistered Afghan refugees living in Pakistan, as well as unregistered Bengali, Nepali and Rohingya immigrants and refugees.

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