KARACHI: The Sindh Action Committee called off on Tuesday their three-day long hunger strike after submitting a memorandum of their demands to the governor.
The central leader of the committee and Jeay Sindh Mahaz Chairperson Riaz Chandio said Sindhi nationalist parties and the people of Sindh had reservations on the issuance of computerised national identity cards (CNICs) to foreigners, such as Bengalis, Burmese, Afghanis, Indians, Iranians and others by the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA).
The action committee, which comprises 10 nationalist parties, presented its demands to the governor who is the representative of the federal government in Sindh. In the meantime, hundreds of supporters of the nationalist parties ended their hunger strike outside the Karachi Press Club which they started Sunday morning.
“It is a constitutional responsibility of the federation to halt foreigners [from entering the province] from all borders to safeguard the demography of Sindh and to ensure that the indigenous people of the province remain as a majority. Providing CNICs to foreigners is a violation of the Constitution of Pakistan and a direct threat to the demography of Sindh,” said Chandio.
Citing a Supreme Court verdict of 2012 in the Karachi law and order case, the action committee leader claimed that the apex court clearly stated in its verdict that foreigners, especially Burmese, Bengalis and Afghanis, must be confined to refugee camps because they were not only a burden over the resources of Sindh but also a threat to peace in the province and in the country.
Chandio also demanded that NADRA Chairperson Usman Mubeen be immediately removed from his post and punished for gross misuse of his authority. According to the nationalist leader, the NADRA chairperson had been issuing CNICs to foreigners for his vested interests, which was not only a violation of the Pakistan Citizenship Act, 1951 but also a contempt of court as it violated the verdict of the Supreme Court.
National Democratic Party Chairperson Mumtaz Brohi said CNICs and passports issued to those who migrated to Pakistan after 1954 from India and after 1972 from Bangladesh must be cancelled and their names from voter lists must be immediately removed.
Brohi was of the view that providing citizenship to foreigners will facilitate international terrorists. He cited the example of Mullah Mansoor, the Taliban chief, who had a Pakistani CNIC and who was killed in a drone attack near Iranian border.
Ilahi Bux of Jiye Sindh Qaumi Mahaz called for an urgent decision at the Council of Common Interests (CCI) regarding the grant of citizenship to foreigners. He also demanded that checks be placed on foreigners that were illegally settled in the outskirts of Karachi by military dictators like Ayub Khan, Ziaul Haq and Pervaiz Musharraf.
“We demand issuance of alien registration cards to the foreigners currently residing in Sindh as well in Pakistan,” said Sindh United Party’s Zain Shah.
Earlier, the action committee had also held a three-day hunger strike between April 17 and April 19 outside the NADRA mega centre on Korangi Road.