Unchecked influx of strangers in Sindh scares locals

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Thatta: Continuous unchecked influx of Afghans, Bengalis, Burmese and migrants from South Waziristan and others parts of the country in Sindh has triggered a wave of fear in Sindh’s civil society and locals, various stake-holders told News Lens Pakistan.

Deputy Inspector General of Police Hyderabad Range Sanaullah Abbasi while talking to News Lens Pakistan endorsed apprehension of Sindh’s civil society and said, “Yes! These migrants are strengthening their roots in Interior Sindh by taking shelter under the umbrellas of unregistered religious seminaries, run by powerful locals.”

He said, “Karachi and Hyderabad alone witnessed presence of about 300,000 illegal immigrants. Majority of them is involved in poultry, fishing, wheelbarrow businesses and narcotic trafficking.”

The official disclosed that UNO and Pakistan, under any agreement in 2007, decided that the Afghan refugees would be confined within 18 notified camps in Pakistan and would not be allowed to establish their own businesses. He said it was also decided that their livelihood would be borne by the UNO through Pakistan Government.

According Abbasi, thousands of Afghan refugees somehow escaped their camps and kept on settling in outskirts of Karachi, Hyderabad and other urban areas of Sindh. Other migrants also followed their footsteps and developed their neigbourhoods in those areas.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Thatha Fida Hussain told News Lens Pakistan, “The migrants use Karachi as the gateway penetrated into the tail end districts Thatta, Badin, Sujawal, Tando Muhammad Khan, Hyderabad and other areas of Sindh where they could be seen in groups, roaming around in their traditional dresses with deadly weapons.”

Chairman Jiye Sindh Mahaz (JSM), a political alliance for Sindh’s rights, Riaz Chandio, terming the situation as “igniting”, said, “Presence of preaching groups like Tableeghi Jamaat is a blessing for such strangers, who take shelter in these groups. It might develop inroads for Islamic State for Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Sindh.”

Other than representatives of civil society of Sindh, political parties are also apprehensive about the peace of Interior Sindh. Pakistan Peoples Party’s Senator Karim Khwaja, “Terrorism is the biggest challenge to Pakistan. At present, influx of migrants in Sindh is alarming and might strengthen terror networks active here.”

Muthida Qaumi Movement’s Leader Heer Sooho, while talking to News Lens Pakistan, was of firm belief if the strangers kept increasing influence in socio-economic sector of the society, they would definitely dominate Interior Sindh in future. She feared, “The situation may get out of control, if Sindh government does not realize ground realities and make efforts to register seminaries and illegal immigrants.”

Nawaz Shah Bhadai, Vice Chairman JSM, giving details of such strangers said, “Districts Jamshoro along the Super Highway, Tando Muhammad Khan, Badin, Sujawal, Dhabeji, Gujjo, Gharo and coastal towns Garho, Mirpur Sakro Bilal Nagar and Thatta are incubating these unchecked illegal immigrants.” He said that most of them have managed to get fake identity cards in connivance with officials while the locals keep struggling for such documents.

General Secretary of Jiye Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) Thatta Ghulam Hussain Khaskheli pointed out that these strangers on behalf of religious militant groups like Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan threaten locals but all goes unnoticed by the government and law enforcing agencies.

He said strong legislation is required to counter the migrants and their activities otherwise Sindh will go into the hands of militant groups soon.

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