SUKKUR: Internally displaced people (IDPs) in Sukkur and Khairpur are being forced by the district administration to leave, saying that they did not have enough space to accommodate them.
IDPs, mainly from areas of Kandhkot, Ghauspur, and Thul, were asked to go to Karachi but they refused to leave as they had no space or shelter in Karachi. The police carried out an operation late Tuesday night, bringing vans and trucks, and tried to force the people alongside the highway to start moving. In reaction, the families threatened to block the highway.
“We do not know where the government is going to take us, we don’t trust anyone, and we prefer staying here,” said Saleh Marri from Khankot. They had first gone to Sukkur but the administration had sent them ahead. Now they were at the Khairpur Bypass, but without shelter and food.
The district administration had told the IDPs that a special train had been arranged for more than 200 people, albeit without their livestock, which would take them to Karachi for free. But this was not enough to persuade them, said a focal person called Aga Suhail. “They were asking us to go to Karachi in a train but there was no arrangement to transport our livestock,” said Shaho Bijarani from Ghauspur. “How can we leave our livestock behind as this is the only asset we have after the flood destroyed our houses and villages.”
As a result, two persons from each family stayed back to look after their livestock and were promised that soon, they too would be shifted to Karachi where they could join their families.
The IDPs were being moved to Karachi because there had been some cases of looting and robbery, explained the District Police Officer (DPO). A majority of the IDPs were from tribal areas and it would be difficult to control them, he said. According to the DPO, more than 50 pieces of ammunition have been recovered from IDPs at the camps. Records for each piece of ammunition have to be maintained by the police so that they could later be returned to their respective owners.
The IDPs are being moved to a tent village at Hawkes Bay near scheme 42, the Karachi district administration said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2010.
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