(Karachi): Already struggling to cope with its own problems caused by the neglect of the central government, Sindh is up against the influx of refugees who have settled in the region changing the demography and also controlling the chunk of the economy.
Not surprisingly, a bloody scuffle between two individuals has now blown out of proportion and has sparked protests across the country.
Bilal Kaka, a 35-year-old Sindhi was murdered by a Pashtun as a quarrel over a food bill at Super Salateen Hotel near Wadhu Wah near Hyderabad bypass turned bloody.
Sindh protested Bilal Kaka’s killing and asked Pashtuns to shut their shops and return to their homeland. In one of the videos of the protests, a Sindhi protestor asked Pashtun to close his Dhaba saying, “We are peacefully asking you to leave our land and we do not want to harm you, nor do damage your Dhaba.”
But, the protests by Sindhis led to counter protests by Pashtuns. They protested in Sohrab Goth, Karachi as well in Quetta. As per reports, vehicles were ablaze, one man was killed during violence at Sohrab Goth and another Baloch was killed assuming that he was a Sindhi. The following day another protest was reported at Jamali Pull superhighway, Karachi by Pashtuns and Afghans wherein Hindu girl and Muslim girls were allegedly kidnapped.
Parents and eye-witnessed said that Pashtuns/Afghans had lifted their girls. While the police kept denying it. The Rise News sent its report to verify the news and people confirmed it.
Nevertheless, one of the citizens at Jamali Pull feared that if he reveals information his house, which is surrounded by Pashtuns, would be charred.
Sindh government said the situation was under control protesters from both sides were arrested.
Why Sindh says cannot afford the influx of foreigners
Sindhis fear that attack on their land will change the demography and they will lose control over the economy.
The refugee population started penetrating Sindh during the partition of 1940. Then, former dictator Ayub Khan placed Pashtuns in the province, and then another former dictator Zia-ul-Haq opened the Sindh gate to refugees.
Journalist Rasheed Memon writes in his reportage that ‘thousands of Afghans are coming to Sindh every day but the Sindh government is not ready to stop them, according to police reports.’
Sindhis say that the State itself wants to change the status of Sindhis into the minority. Some activists claim that Punjab has received refugees.
“Punjab has maintained its population in the province and refugees do not affect them,” says Zamir Ghumro who is a barrister and the columnist asks “Has Punjab demography changed? Has Punjab’s economy affected?”
Only the Sindh province is culturally and economically affected and its demography is thoroughly changed. However, Pashtuns consider Afghans their brothers, they share culture, and land, therefore, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s demography is not affected. Another reason: the influx of refugees does not stay there.
Provinces like Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa compare themselves to Sindh, which is completely based on an unjust comparison. For instance: Punjab city’s Lahore is not upset because of the influx of refugees or how many non-Punjabis are members of the Punjab provincial assembly or Khyber Pakhtunkhwa shows the list of non-Pashtuns members in its provincial assembly, said Zamir.
“Whereas, Sindh province has non-Sindhis members.”
Sindh is the only province where anyone can obtain identity cards over a low amount and can gain the right the vote regardless of refugee status or illegal immigration.
Member of the senate of Pakistan and senior leader of Mutahida Quami Movement Pakistan, Faisal Subzwari asked on the assembly floor how came identity cards were issued to more than 40 thousand refugees in Karachi? He then demanded the withdrawal of these cards.
Not only in Karachi but also in different cities of Sindh, fake identity cards have been issued to foreigners and fake domiciles to non-residents.
No legislation made to prevent the influx of refugees
Zamir pointed out in what capacity illegal immigrants and foreigners were given identity cards and then have the right the vote.
He narrated that in Pakistan most people misinterpret article 15 wherein states that restrictions can be imposed. It means the government can impose laws and protect locals’ rights.
“Article 15: freedom of moment etc: every citizen shall have the right to remain in, and subject to the reasonable restriction imposed a law in the public interests, enter and move freely throughout Pakistan and to reside and settled in any part thereof.”
Unfortunately, the state has not looked at the matter where Pakistan’s constitution gives provinces the right to legislate the law accordingly.
Further referred: “Article 23: every citizen shall have the right to acquire, hold and dispose of the property in any party of Pakistan subject to the constitution and any reasonable restriction imposed by law in the public interest.”
Provincial property and its land belong to the province and the government should protect it. Nevertheless, in Sindh, we can see that everyone can buy and claim it. It is happening because of the absence of legislation and people take advantage of it, he said.
Sindh becomes Maal-e-Ghanimate to everyone that government fails to protect the province from pillage and plunder.
He instated that under article 15 parliament shall legislate the law to stop the influx of foreigners and refugees otherwise, in coming years Sindh and its demography will have impinged.
Sindhi nationalists’ parties have asked the Sindh government to send foreigners and illegal immigrants back to their homeland.
Sindh nationalist political parties will hold a political gathering [Jalsa] over the issue of the influx of refugees in Hyderabad on August 22, 2022.
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