Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Imran Khan has offered nationality to Pakistan-born refugees and social media users have mixed feelings.

The Pakistan Prime Minister pledged to provide passports and National Identity Cards (NICs) to all refugees of Afghan and Bangladeshi origin, during his first visit to Karachi after forming government on Sunday.

“There is no social security system and hundreds of thousands of unregistered Afghans and Bangladeshis are living in this metropolis. They cannot get ID cards and passports and this is why they are denied jobs,” Khan said. Consequently, unemployment is the reason for criminal activities, he added.

However, the decision has sparked mixed reactions online. While some users applauded Khan’s promises and thought that it is a much needed change, others suggested that the decision might be harmful to the country.

Twitter user Zaid Hamid, @ZaidZamanHamid, wrote: “Giving nationality to those Bengalis and Afghans who are born in Pakistan is an excellent step by PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) government, strongly appreciate it. Millions of Muslims were suffering, could not get [an] education or [a] job because they had refugee status. Decency, humanity and even strategy demanded it.”

A Twitter-based military forum called Pakistan Defence, @defencedotpk, tweeted: “Own those Afghans who were born in Pakistan and they will become guardians of this country. They’ve suffered enough, they deserve a homeland. Our issues with Afghanistan will have to be solved separately from the high humanitarian calling we must answer to.”

On the same sentiment, replying to a tweet against Khan’s decision, tweep Nadeem Yousaf, @nyousaf_com, posted: “…You guys have no sense of human rights. It is their right to have nationality if they [have] grown up in Pakistan.”

The criticism Khan’s decision has triggered is unjustified, according to tweep Ali Raza, @AliRazaTweets: “In many countries, a person acquires nationality by birth. This is usual practice in the world. Imran Khan wants same in Pakistan therefore criticism is undue.”

However, others disagreed. Sentiments against Afghans were specifically prevalent online.

Tweep Sana Baloch, @SannaMurtaza, had concerns over how such refugees would prove they were born in the country: “Offering nationality to Afghans in Pakistan will open gate of flood for more refugees - those who have returned and even the new ones. Who will prove had they been here or not? We have fought for decades to contain militancy, this policy will be disastrous! #Afghan #PMImranKhan”

Twitter user, @ArifAtozai, posted: “Giving Afghanis #Pakistan’s nationality is highly alarming as it would have adverse repercussions on Pakistan in the long run. Many of them indulge in narcotics, kidnaping, anti-Pakistan activities and illegal arms besides training terrorists and suicide bombers. #RIPNayaPakistan”

Similarly, tweep Komal Pervaiz, @PervaizKomal, wrote: “Each and every act of terrorism in Pakistan is associated with Afghan[s]. Whereever they go they bring drugs and crimes as a gift for the host. Furthermore Baloch will become a minority in their province once this happens, which is unfair to our Baloch people.”

However, results from a Twitter poll posted by journalist Nazrana Yousufzai, @NazranaYusufzai, indicated otherwise. Over 800 people voted, and 63 per cent of them agreed to her question: “Do you support PM Imran Khan’s decision to offer nationality to Afghan and Bengali settled and born in Pakistan?”