Security plans: Govt yet to implement border checks as IDPs arrive

Sindh govt lays blame on federal govt failing to provide biometric system, scanners.

Faraz Khan June 20, 2014
Civilians, fleeing from a military operation in North Waziristan tribal agency. PHOTO: AFP/FILE


Wajid Mehsud, 27, did not have to go through any strict security measures as he made his way from his hometown in North Waziristan all the way to Karachi.

“I only noticed that they [border security forces] were allowing the IDPs in by looking at their national identity cards,” he said. “But they did not ask us where we are going or where we will stay.” Wajid reached the city by road a few days ago and has been staying, along with his family, at his relative’s house in one of Pashtun-dominated neighbourhoods of district West.

The military action launched in North Waziristan has resulted in the displacement of a large number of people from the tribal area. According to unofficial records, around 90,000 IDPs have moved to various parts of the country, including Karachi, in the past two months. Most of them started moving even before the operation was formally announced.

According to the newcomers, only those ‘who look like Taliban’ are strictly questioned. “All the way from Waziristan via Bannu, DI Khan, DG Khan and rural Sindh to Karachi, the officials at the check posts were only checking those people whose getup was like that of militants or the ones without families,” said another IDP Abdullah Mehsud. “Their baggage was also being checked.”

Monitoring ‘sensitive’ areas

The Express Tribune learnt that the intelligence agencies, the police and Rangers have started close monitoring of the areas declared ‘highly sensitive’ in the city. Most of these areas fall in districts West and East.

“The main issue is that the people living in these neighbourhoods are not ready to cooperate with the law enforcers,” said district West police chief DIG Captain (retd) Tahir Naveed. He was talking about the lack of cooperation by the residents to gain information on the presence of militants.  “It is too hard for us to recognize who is innocent or who is a terrorist as all of them belong to the same ethnicity.”

“In these areas, you will find the operatives of different Taliban groups including Waliur Rehman, Hakeemullah and Fazalullah,” explained a senior Crime Investigation Department officer. “In the past, the clashes between the operatives of these militants groups over turf and fundraising also erupted but now they have joined hands to give a stronger resistance.”

Naveed told The Express Tribune that the militants have also done their homework to respond to the military operation by carrying out terrorist activities in the cities. “If the situation goes out of control, the army will be there to help us out,” he assured, adding that the police are also on alert and are using modern equipment to avert any kind of terrorist activity.

Biometric checks?

According to Rangers officials, they are checking the people arriving from Waziristan and other parts of the country manually as the government has yet to provide biometric systems and scanners to check the supply of explosives and arms. “You should ask the government why they did not provide these to us despite the operation being launched,” complained a senior Rangers official.

Despite the influx of IDPs, the Sindh government has yet to take measures to record the names of those entering the province and verifying their credentials. “It is the responsibility of the federal government to provide biometric systems to us,” Sindh chief minister’s adviser Waqar Mehdi conveniently shifting the blame. “We do not have the budget to settle the IDPs. The federal government should settle them in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the Punjab.” 

Published in The Express Tribune, June 20th, 2014.


Aqib Ali Shah | 8 years ago | Reply

Oh, yeah brilliant. Dump all of the IDP's in Sindh. I wonder whenever it comes to the exploitation of the resources of the said province, all of the people hailing from Punjab and KPK press for their lions share in the Sindh. However whenever it comes to settling the IDP's and cleaning up the mess they automatically become punjabis and pathans and insist Sindh and its local inhabitants to bear the burnt of the IDP's and to be more patriotic and accommodating for Pathans & Punjabis, Ironic.

In a nutshell I can say, the establishment policy is to secure Punjab at the cost of other provinces, specially Sindh. From the inception of PML-N government, it seems like that the Governments writ and development is only targeted at Punjab. Someone needs to remind Nawaz Sharif that he's the prime minister of Pakistan, not only Punjab.

Usman | 8 years ago | Reply

Provide them with food, water, shelter first. Then worry about the risks which will reduce once they're settled anyway.

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