ISLAMABAD - Khan Wali, 38, an Afghan refugee and a shepherd finds himself in trouble after terrorists strike any place in the country. The police and administration has to grill him repeatedly for showing his legal stay. The refugee shepherd lives in outskirts of Rawalpindi-Islamabad and earns his livelihood by selling milk and sheep. Soon after he heard about the brutal attack on Bacha Khan University in Charsada on January 20, Wali, who hold the legal documents for his stay in Pakistan as a refugee, knew he will go through a process of investigation once again.

Khan Wali has to bear the brunt of militant attack carried out in any part of the country as his Afghan identity lands him in trouble and, according to him, he is seen as suspect and subjected to investigation and sometimes picked up by police to prove his legal stay in Pakistan. The attack on Army Public School in Peshawar on December 16, 2014 had landed him in lockup of Airport police station where he stayed for a whole night only to be released in the morning after he convinced police he was living legally and had been staying in Islamabad for the last 28 years.

The shepherd once had to pay Rs 18,000 to the forest officials of Capital Development Authority (CDA) as penalty for damaging grass in outskirts of Islamabad. Khan Wali owns a herd of around 200 sheep. CDA Forester Tahir Hussain confirmed to this scribe that Wali had been charged Rs18,000 for grazing sheep near Sowan area of Islamabad. “Grazing on CDA land is illegal and the fine for this offence is Rs300,” the official said. He had no satisfactory answer, when asked why the shepherd was charged so heavily when the actual fine is just Rs300.

The official disconnected his cell phone when asked whether the buffaloes grazing along Constitution Avenue were legally allowed and how many owners have so far been penalised by his office. The shepherd said his Proof of Registration (PoR) card has expired on December 31, 2015 saying the government has not yet decided whether to extend stay of Afghan refugees for further time or not. However, he holds a letter of Ministry of States and Frontier Region (SAFRON) that requests police and other departments to be kind to the refugee as the government was still considering extending their PoR cards for more time.

Wali Khan is not the only refugee who bears the brunt of terrorists attacks in country but there are so many other Afghan refugees who are subjected to ‘inhuman’ police treatment in the name of crackdown on illegal refugees. Mula Zazai, another Afghan refugee and a fruit vendor in Islamabad, too has to go through a series of investigations by civic agencies and police when militants strike any place in the country. Mr Zazai, 45, was picked up by Islamabad police two days after terrorists stormed Bacha Khan University as the terrorists, according to military officials, had come from Afghanistan. “The day terrorists strike any place, fear grips Afghan refugees in the federal capital because we know the police would approach us. Then we are either detained in police stations or we give them money to skip detention,” he said.