KARACHI, Nov 4: Over 78 intellectuals, writers, poets and academicians, human rights activists, lawyers appreciate the overdue move of the federal government to deport illegal immigrants of various countries living in Pakistan and particularly in the province of Sindh in accordance with the provisions of Constitution of Pakistan, Foreigners Act, 1946 amended from time to time and 1951 UNO Convention on Refugees
A joint statement issued on Saturday said that the people of Sindh through their civil society representatives, appreciate the overdue move of the federal government to deport illegal immigrants of various countries living in Pakistan and particularly in the province of Sindh in accordance with the provisions of Constitution of Pakistan, Foreigners Act, 1946 amended from time to time and 1951 UNO Convention on Refugees.
In 1977, through a military coup, military dictator Zia ul Haq toppled an elected democratic government and hanged an elected prime minister. The state entered an American proxy war against the former Soviet Union in Afghanistan. As a result millions of people were forced from their hearths and homes to settle in Pakistan, the statement said.
Without any plan as to how and where these Afghan citizens will be settled, millions entered different cities of Sindh, particularly Hyderabad and Karachi. Against the wishes and aspirations of Sindhi nation, the State encouraged the influx of Afghan citizens in Sindh with full patronage in order to change the demography of Sindh. This was a calculated political move by the Federal Government to subdue the democratic resistance of Sindh against Zia’s tyrannical dictatorship. The Afghan citizens who were not refugees in a legal sense were trained to wage Jihad by Pakistan’s establishment both within and outside Pakistan. They were simultaneously used to change the demography of Sindh and to adversely affect the national struggle of the people of Sindh against their subjugation by the Centre through continuous martial laws or rigged polls, the statement further said.
We believe that the Federal Government’s announcement to deport these millions of illegal immigrants to their countries is in accordance with the provisions of the Foreigners Act, Constitution of Pakistan and UNO Convention on Refugees, the civil society representatives said.
It must be made clear that Sindhis are not averse to genuine asylum seekers affected on the basis of political, racial, gender and religious beliefs whose number could be not more than few thousand. There is a clear difference between an asylum seeker and an illegal immigrant under national and international law. While asylum seekers have the right to remain in the host country, an illegal immigrant under the law has no such right who has entered the country to improve his social or economic status. Millions of illegal immigrants were imposed on Sindh as a conscious political policy of Islamabad to subjugate the National struggle of the people of Sindh for their independent and sovereign status as promised in the Constitution, 1940 Lahore Resolution and International law.
It’s astonishing that compatriots of Sindhis from other provinces who have across the border ethnic loyalties are opposing the deportation of illegal immigrants on the pretext of human rights though they have no legal right to remain in the country under Foreigners Act, 1946 or the Constitution of Pakistan.
The national political, human and fundamental rights of the people of Sindh as envisaged in the constitution have been badly affected by illegal immigrants putting unimaginable burden on their resources, jobs, education, healthcare system, language and culture. According to the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People their culture, heritage, land & resources are protected. Instead of espousing the rights of their Sindhi compatriots, so-called human rights activists under a political agenda are refusing to accept the fundamental rights of the people of Sindh enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan and supporting illegal immigration in Sindh which is totally barred under the law.
We are aware of the fact that the Federal Government has not yet announced repatriation of Afghan refugees which has been kept on hold and time limit for their repatriation has been extended from time to time. This is also overdue and the Federal Government needs to repatriate them in accordance with national and international law. The simple action of deportation of illegal immigrants sans Afghan refugees has aroused the ire of those who want to impose illegal immigrants on Sindh as a political ploy to subjugate Sindh’s struggle for Constitutional rule.
We believe that this is not the first time when such a situation has been imposed upon Sindh. An elected government was ousted in 1977 and the prime minister who hailed from Sindh was hanged in 1979 through a sham judicial trial. Earlier, in 1948 similar methods were used when the state stooped low by removing the government in Sindh to pave the way for settlement of refugees coming from India when the legal limit of 90,000 refugees surpassed. Millions of refugees were brought from India after partition and this continued till the 1980s. This was a deliberate move to change the demography of Sindh, a crime under international and national law.
Sindh believes that it’s the political policy of the establishment who has ruled Pakistan through martial laws or rigged polls to impose millions of illegal immigrants in Sindh to alter its demography. This will not only result in making this extremely challenging for Sindhis to rightfully rule their motherland, a crime under national and international law.
We are determined that any effort by disgruntled elements who have vested political and financial interests associated with illegal immigrants would be resisted by all legal means. They all are required under Article 5 of the Constitution to obey the law and constitution. They must protect the rights of people of Sindh instead of supporting those who have no legal right to stay in the country under national or international law.
The statement is endorsed by Anis Haroon- Feminist/Activist, Justice(Rtd) Majida Razvi, Prof. Dr. Arfana Mallah – activist/academic, Amar Sindhu – activist/writer/academic, Prof. Dr. Imdad Chandio- Academic/Activist, Yousif Laghari- Lawyer, Prof Dr. Abdul Majeed Chandio.- Academic, Dr. Firdous Bukero – academic, Shazia Nizamani – lawyer, Dr. Haseen Musarat – activist/academic, Dr. Muhammad Ali Shaikh – Academic, Shaista Muhammad Ali – Academic, Azhar Kalyani – intellectual (Siraiki Waseb), Rubina Zahri – Activist (Balochistan), Advocate Rubina Chandio – Activist, Dr. Imran Ali Hashmi – Academic, Mr. Kashif Riaz – Academic, Riffat Abbas – writer/ Siraiki intellectual, Bakhtawar Mansoor – Writer/Educationist, Attiya Dawood- Writer/Activist, Qazi Asif – Senior Journalist and others.