KARACHI: The residents of Lyari who have been displaced due to the surge of violence in the area will be brought back to their homes and rehabilitated with full assistance, announced the national conference on the issue of displacement on Friday.
The conference, which was held at the Karachi Press Club, was attended by nationalists, Sindh Assembly’s lawmakers, writers and journalists, who agreed unanimously that the Pakistan Peoples Party-led Sindh government was patronising criminals in Lyari.
The speakers also made it clear that the ongoing conflict was not between the Baloch and Kutchi communities, adding that the Peoples Amn Committee had sabotaged the cultural, social and political identity of Karachi’s oldest area.
“We demand an end to the killings of Kutchis immediately,” urged Pakistan’s former envoy for the United Nations, Abdullah Hussain Haroon. “The government has failed to perform its responsibilities and appears to be content with the spread of ethnic violence.” Haroon pointed out that the provincial government was not highlighting the reasons for bloodshed in Lyari.
“The Baloch are in more miserable conditions than Kutchis,” said Yousuf Masti Khan. “Lyari was once the stronghold of political activities but now criminals occupy it while the Sindh government patronises them.” He accused the Rangers and police of also supporting criminals, adding that dire consequences would come up if the issue was not tackled properly.
“It is a humanitarian issue,” remarked Pakistan Muslim League-Functional’s MPA Mehtab Akbar Rashidi. Criticising the Sindh government’s “biased” role, she urged nationalists to support the indigenous people of Karachi. She also demanded the government to immediately share what steps had been taken to stop the violence in the area. “Just taking notices will not resolve issues.”
Similarly, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s MPA Haji Shafi Jamote also criticised Sindh government’s support to the criminals and biased role on the issue of killings and displacement. “Why isn’t the federal government taking action when the provincial government cannot resolve the issue?”
According to Jalal Mehmood Shah, it is the responsibility of the government to ensure security of common citizens. “We should all make efforts to bring back the displaced families with honour. We should also build their confidence that they are not facing this ordeal alone,” he added.
The same sentiments were shared by Dr Safdar Sarki who said, “We’ll support our brothers. We’ll not leave them alone and will not allow criminals to kill Sindhis.” According to him, the number of migrating residents was not merely a few hundreds but thousands. “The PPP government is behind the ethnic violence in Karachi,” he alleged.
Akhtar Kutchi briefed the conference on the prevailing situation in Lyari and the reasons for the displacement of Kutchi families. He also accused the provincial government of not making serious efforts despite countless meetings. “It is a conspiracy against indigenous people. We are blamed when defend ourselves,” he said. “The criminals who attack [us] with modern weapons continue to do so as no steps are taken against them.”
It was decided in the conference that a committee would depart today (Saturday) to areas where the families of Lyari had migrated so that they could be brought back.
The conference, chaired by Jeay Sindh Mahaz Chairperson Riaz Chandio, was also attended by seasoned politician Ellahi Bux Soomro and representatives of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz, Sindh Taraqi Pasand Party, Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz and others.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2013.