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A view of the refugee camp near the Shah Guryo shrine. — Photos by author.
A view of the refugee camp near the Shah Guryo shrine. — Photos by author.
A view of the refugee camp near the Shah Guryo shrine. — Photos by author.
A view of the refugee camp near the Shah Guryo shrine. — Photos by author.

First Swat, then Bajaur and Khyber and now Karachi's Lyari – Internally displaced peoples (IDPs) from the violence-stricken area i have taken refuge in Badin, in miserable conditions, under the open sky.

Hundreds of people who are currently living near the shrine of Sufi Saint Shah Guryo, have horrifying stories to tell – but are avoiding appearing in front of a camera for fear of being identified by those, they say, have forced them to leave their homes.

According to one estimate, more than three thousand people alone have sought refuge in Badin and Thatta districts. Others have sought ‘asylum’ with relatives in Tando bago, Talhar, Badin, Golarchi, Pangrio, Matli and other areas.

Those who have fled from Karachi, however, feel completely abandoned. Saima Mandhro, a graduate from Agra Taj Colony in Lyari currently living at Shah Guryo with her family tells that when Badin was hit by floods in 2011, she had taken part in collecting relief items from her locality for the submerged district’s flooded areas as well as other areas of lower Sindh. “But my family has been here for the last eight days with no assistance from anybody,” she says with tears in her eyes.

Government complacency, meanwhile, seems rampant. Badin Deputy Commissioner Rafiq Quraishi was unavailable for comment, but told a private television channel that only 238 people had arrived in Badin. On visiting the camp near the shrine however, it was obvious there were at least five hundred IDPs taking shelter there alone.

Rehmat Mandhro, an aged IDP living in the same camp had a similar tale of misery to tell. Two years back, she lost her eldest son, the only breadwinner in the family, to violence in Lyari. Now, just a few days back, she lost her house in Al Falah Colony.

She held Sindh government officials responsible for what she said was her forced eviction. Most of the elderly and children have fallen sick because of drinking contaminated water and living in the open in the summer’s unrelenting heat.

Ashia Bai, another IDP who was praying in the shrine, says that it was a misunderstanding to believe the current chaos in Lyari is a result of infighting between the Baloch and Kutchis living there – she accused the patrons of gang warfare for their displacement.

Another IDP, Mohammad Haroon Mandhro, says that he was on his way back to Karachi from Badin after five days of living there – only to find out his house had been ransacked and plundered by gangsters. “Now we have neither homes, nor a proper source of shelter, nor any source to earn a livelihood for our families,” he explains, while urging civil activists to take notice of the matter

The refugees have no clue as to when, and if, they can ever return to their home. In the meanwhile, they’re desperately seeking food and medicine, and traveling four kilometers for access to clean drinking water.

Comments (8) Closed

Raza Jul 12, 2013 11:57pm

I am hoping that PPP will fall even farther after their inept and exploitative rule in Sind. Hopefully, next time they will loose Sind in the elections as well.

Abr_e_Gurezaan Jul 13, 2013 12:18am

Meanwhile, in the much-maligned state of Gujarat next door, under a much-demonised CM, there has been not one communal riot for over 10 years now, electricity even in rural areas is fast becoming 24x7, and areas of Ahmedabad that had chronic water shortages for decades are seeing uninterrupted water supply. Just food for thought.

pervez Jul 13, 2013 04:52am

Our hatred to india is more than our love to pakistan. We are keep on increasing population where human life is nothing.Ya Allah please give people sense not to more have more children than 2. so life will be ok and no more taliban in Pakistan.

S. A. M. Jul 13, 2013 08:02am

Once they had their own homes where they lived happily with their loved ones, took good rest after a tiring day and ... Now they are without a roof living in the open with their elders, women and kids totally unprotected. where is the CM of Sind Qaim Ali Shah. Has not PPP learnt enough after facing such a shameful defeat in the elections. Why they are bent upon having one inefficient leader after the other. I feel that afghan refugees were really lucky that when russia attacked them they could come to Pakistan and live in peace but what about the pakistanis who will give them shelter who will let them in. Nobody

dudub Jul 13, 2013 12:20pm

bravo nawaz sharif

Usher Jul 13, 2013 05:22pm

Unfortunately MQM is not behind their plight otherwise whole country especially Punjabi media and Punjabi chauvinist must highlight this issue

Tariq Jul 13, 2013 11:36pm

People of Sind if you can remember, at next election please vote with your heads and not with your feet!

Kashif Mughal Jul 14, 2013 01:44pm

One has only to consider the fact that Baloch & Kachhi are living in Liyary for a very long time like brothers but no one can remember such mishaps ever happend in past.One can only hope & pray to Almighty ALLAH that soon may ALLAH's curse fall on the 3rd force that is designing these wars & misanderstandings amongest Baloch & Kachhi brothers.The 3rd forse should only wait because the ultimate doom is near at hand for them & God's Will be done.InshaALLAH karachi will become like paradize once again.