PM allows registered Afghan refugees to open bank accounts

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Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday issued instructions for registered Afghan refugees living in Pakistan to be allowed to open bank accounts.

“From now onwards they can participate in the formal economy of the country,” the PM said, referring to registered Afghan refugees.

“This should have been done a long time ago,” the premier concluded.

Pakistan is one of the largest refugee-hosting nations in the world, home to an estimated 2.4 million registered and undocumented people who have fled Afghanistan, some as far back as the Soviet invasion of 1979.

Less than a month after taking office, Prime Minister Imran had in September last year ignited a national debate with a vow to grant citizenship to Afghan refugees born in Pakistan — potentially creating more than a million new citizens.

As opposition parties protested against the proposal, Khan later justified his remarks but said the government would consult all political parties before taking a final decision on the matter.