KARACHI: Sindh’s nationalist parties have expressed concern over the arrival of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Waziristan to different parts of the province.
They believe that the IDPs will not only increase the social and economic burden, but will also disturb the demographics of the province. “We will have more polio cases and militant attacks in Sindh,” said the head of Sindh United Party (SUP), Syed Jalal Mehmood Shah. “Our people will be in trouble in the future if the issue is not resolved now.”
Shah lamented that the provincial government was indifferent about the issue. “Thousands of families who came to Sindh during the Swat operation never went back,” he reasoned, adding that the IDPs’ arrival to Sindh after a 2,000 kilometre journey was an unjustified act. “Why don’t the federal and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa governments make arrangements in K-P?” he questioned. Shah suggested that the IDPs should be accommodated in Bannu, Peshahwar or near Islamabad.
“All Pakistanis are our brothers. We show our solidarity to those who are displaced,” commented Ayaz Latif Palijo, president of the Qaumi Awami Tehreek. “But it is a demographic challenge for us,” he added. “It is also a threat to sensitive installations, including ports and airports.” He said hundreds of militants could move to Sindh during the displacement.
Palijo said that the people of Sindh, despite having faced the hardest times during the floods of 2010, 2011 and 2012 and during the drought in Tharparkar, never moved to K-P or other parts of the country. “We didn’t ask any province to settle our people in their provinces during the floods. Why are the IDPs always sent to Sindh?” he questioned.
He severely criticised the Sindh government, terming it completely inefficient. “The Sindh government had initially announced it won’t allow IDPs to enter the province. Later, it welcomed the IDPs.” The QAT has suggested all political and nationalist parties to form vigilance committees at taluka and district level. It has also advised to immediately inform law enforcement agencies about suspects and appeal to the courts in respective areas if legal action is not taken by police.
“It is outsiders, not the IDPs, who are pouring into Sindh,” said the senior vice president of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz Dr Niaz Kalani. “This is the provincial government’s policy to accommodate outsiders in Sindh. It is nothing short of a conspiracy.”
Dr Kalani questioned why the thousands of families who were genuinely displaced during the floods were not accepted in major cities of Sindh, including Karachi. “There is no place for Sindh’s own people but people from other parts of the country are given a warm welcome. We won’t accept such injustice with Sindhis,” he said.
Protests are being held in different parts of the province by different nationalist parties. The SUP is going to organise an all-parties’ meeting on July 3 in Karachi to discuss the issue. The Jeay Sindh Tehreek (JST) will stage protests across the country within a few days while different nationalists are approaching each other to announce a united front against the issue.
“We have been demanding to send back all the people who came into the province after 1954,” said JST’s vice president, Abdul Fatah Channu. “The government should at least not give them right to vote or the right to purchase property in Sindh,” he stressed. He said that federal and provincial government were deliberately creating differences among people of different provinces.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 1st, 2014.
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