KARACHI: Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has said Sindh cannot afford a further influx of internally displaced persons (IDPs) due to the ongoing military operation against militants in North Waziristan, as the province has already been facing difficulties owing to the earlier influx of Afghan refugees, IDPs and over two million ‘aliens’.
He was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of a three-day international trade exhibition, ‘My Karachi: Oasis of Harmony’, here at the Expo Centre on Friday.
Mr Shah said his government sealed borders and took several measures to stop IDPs’ migration from North Waziristan to Sindh such as strict checking of passengers entering the province by road, air and train from other areas.
He said it was due to these measures that at least 15 militants who had attempted to enter Sindh as IDPs were arrested.
However, the Awami National Party (ANP) said it would welcome IDPs from Waziristan in Sindh while asking the government to restrict the entry of only those people who had links with militants.
Sindh ANP General Secretary Younus Bunairi said the government should not place a ban on IDPs’ entry.
The people of Waziristan were peace loving, but they were made hostage by a minority group having an extremist mindset, he said, adding that the ANP would fully support the people who had to leave their area due to the operation.
He said that the ANP had been facing threats from militant outfits on a daily basis but the party would never support the move to ban the IDPs entry into Sindh.
He said the operation in North Waziristan was not like the Swat operation that caused displacement of a very large population. He was of the opinion that only a few people would come to Karachi and it was not a big deal for the government to scrutinise them.
Earlier, Sindh ANP President Senator Shahi Syed along with Mr Bunairi called on the chief minister and discussed the security situation in the wake of the army operation in North Waziristan against militants.—APP/PPI
Published in Dawn, June 21st, 2014