Further, the operation has brought a huge task for the government to manage; battling with the crises of internally displaced persons (IDPs) due to evolving operation. According to media reports, 435,429 IDPs have been registered by NADRA and roughly 46,000 people have gone across Afghanistan. At the minute, the settlement of IDPs is the challenging and foremost catastrophe for Pakistani government.
Six operations have been conducted since 2007 and when the operation ‘Rah-e-Haq’ was launched in November-2007, as a result massive number of IDPs were relocated within Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s cities and other provinces.
Repercussions for the metropolis; Karachi:
Karachi has an allure that nobody can resist. Let it be a boom or a recession, a war or a quantum of solace in the country, people always decide to go to Karachi in the hope that the city will offer something better than the whole country. Astonishingly, even with its fewer resources Karachi still delivers and fulfills their hope. It is ironic how whole Pakistan turns to Karachi in tough times, yet Karachi is not given its due share from the national exchequer.
During the span of 2007-10, large-scale migration was witnessed and IDPs from Swat and South Waziristan moved to Karachi. Why did they choose Karachi? It is the economical hub of the state and they could earn a livelihood in the Afghan-Pashtun dominant areas, particularly the ghettos of Banaras, Pukhtunabad, Sohrab Goth and Pehlwan Goth. However, the screening process of IDPs was amateurish in view of the fact that scores of terrorists, in disguise of the IDPs arrived in the city. As a result because of the failures in the scrutiny, crime rates soared greatly in the city. A gigantic number of IDPs colonized Pashtun dominant areas of Karachi and settled in Sohrab Goth, Ittehad Town, Metroville, SITE industrial area, Banaras, MPR colony, Baldia, Kunwari colony, Manghopir, Pirabad, Rabia city, Gadap Town, Lyari, Pehlwan Goth, Sultanabad, Saeedabad, Pakhtunabad and other afghan ghettos. Mainly Mehsud tribe was shifted to Sohrab Goth, Landhi, Qasba and Ittehad town. Later, these areas transformed into citadels of extremist militant groups.
Fast forward, street crimes, extortions, kidnappings for ransom, bank robberies and other crimes escalated in last 5-4 years. Law enforcement agencies have claimed that more than 25 percent of Karachi is being controlled by Taliban groups. In other words, we can say that the city of lights has become more or less a city of Taliban hideouts, who carry out their intended crimes and vanish into the their safe havens. According to the reports, there are many neighbourhoods and ghettos in the city where state’s writ is not witnessed. We can assess the sway of militant groups in Karachi by the fact that the city’s super-cop, Chaudhry Aslam, was brutally killed by TTP in a blatant manner. Recently, Uzbek terrorist group attacked and for a while crippled Karachi airport through Pehlwan Goth and Bhittaiabad. Security forces in the city have also failed to provide the feeling of safety and to curb the militancy in the city. If we allow more IDPs without proper scrutiny, then the terrorists are likely to gain foothold in Karachi by camouflaging as IDPs. Subsequently, Karachi can be next Waziristan and an operation like Zarb-e-Azb will be required. After that, who will cater the mammoth influx of Karachi’s IDPs? If Karachi suffers due to disruptive situation then Pakistan will be racked with pain.
What measures should be taken?
Surprisingly, earlier numerous charity organizations and NGOs worked hard for the rehabilitation of internally displaced person but none of the Pashtun organizations exerted themselves to re-establish IDPs. In the case of religious-charitable-wings, they came forward to readapt displaced person and after some time these religious seminaries brainwash them to transform them later into extremists for political or religious interests.
Further, IDPs must realize that they are not in FATA anymore and they will have to adapt to the norms, customs and culture of the metropolis. Most locals mind the presence of others in their areas because of their rigidity to adhere to, practice and encourage their customs even in the cities which have their own norms and customs. For example, Karachi has seen a sharp rise in the killings for honour in the last decade.
A little while back, international media reported that IDPs camp in Bannu and other cities are still unused and most IDPs are fleeing NWA to head to other cities. According to the officials, IDPs have started arriving Karachi, more than 5000 people have already been registered in the city. Yes, everyone should have to come to the aid of those IDPs who are being affected due to operation without a hitch but course of action should be adopted while allowing IDPs to settle in Karachi temporarily.
- The first and foremost procedure should be adopted is proper screening of IDPs for the reason that last time in 2007-10, terrorists infiltrated large cities mainly Karachi disguised as IDPs.
- The displaced person should be thoroughly diagnosed before arriving any city, according to UN reports — polio cases are likely to be emerged in other cities because of influx from NWA.
- IDPs must not be let felt that they are being disrespected or pitied in any way and their self-esteem must not be hurt.
- The proper registration mechanism should be undertaken.
- The political,economical and social rights of local Karachites should not be compromised in such sense that IDPs (non-local) have been foisted on them and their rights will be challenged.
- After the completion of military operation, the first priority should be resettlement of IDPs. They should have to re-locate to their areas after issuing short-term notice.
- All the IDPs must be inoculated for against Polio virus.
In the end, I hope that we will overcome the catastrophe of internally displaced people soon. Yet, the question arises that why did we not manifest such unity when stranded-Pakistanis (Biharis) were calling Pakistan for help? They were also Pakistanis, they fought for the state, they had equal rights but unfortunately we left them on the mercy of Mujib-ur-Rehman’s cadres and they are still living in the refugee camps. Why are they not being given right to come back to Pakistan?