Monitoring provincial borders: Sindh asks Centre to stop registration of Afghan refugees

Thursday, February 27th, 2014 10:45:50 by



KARACHI: 

Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah directed officials to halt the registration of Afghan refugees in anticipation of an influx due to the military airstrikes taking place in North Waziristan.

Presiding over a meeting on law and order on Thursday, he said many illegal Afghans have arrived in Hyderabad and other towns of Sindh.

It is feared that many militants from North Waziristan would come to Sindh and Karachi, and get themselves registered as refugees or resident aliens, which would serve as an easy cover-up, according to the chief minister.

“We have learnt that the federal government has once again started the registration of the refugees. Today, we have recommended the federal govt [in a written letter] to stop this process,” he said.

The CM expressed his apprehensions over reports that there are about 2.5 million unaccounted for ‘aliens’ in Karachi and said many of them are reportedly involved in criminal activities, including land grabbing and drug gangs.

Shah said the National Alien Registration Authority and the Commission for Afghan Refugees have not been performing their duties and he requested the federal government to “activate NARA”, which he deemed “non-functional”, so that the influx of aliens could be monitored and a relevant strategy prepared.

Border monitoring cell

The Sindh government has decided to form a cell specifically for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and monitoring their travel. The cell will comprise members of the intelligence agencies, the police and home dept officials, the meeting was told.

The cell’s head office will be in Karachi while its check posts will be established at points where Sindh shares border with Punjab and Balochistan — Jacobabad, Kashmore, Ghotki and Kamber-Shahdadkot.

According to this proposal, originally floated by acting IG Sindh Police Iqbal Mehmood, the check posts will be equipped with National Database and Registration Authority’s biometric testing facilities where fingerprints will be taken, and addresses of migrants will be registered and a record maintained.

Moreover, exit and entry points of Karachi — the National Highway, Superhighway and Hub – will be monitored.

Cease registration of madrassahs

Following reports of illegal madrassahs mushrooming in the city, CM Shah directed officials to stop the registration of new madrassahs and take action against those that were constructed without permission. “We are not against the teachings of Islam, but religious seminaries must be built following the law. No madrassa can be built without registration,” he said.

The meeting also reviewed the performance of the targeted operation in Karachi and discussed the counterstrategy to fight militants.

Sindh Minister for Information Sharjeel Inam Memon, Chief Secretary Sindh Sajjad Saleem Hotiyana, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Syed Mumtaz Shah,  DG Rangers Major General Rizwan Akhtar, IG Sindh Police Iqbal Mehmood, Additional IG Karachi Shahid Hayat, advocate-general Abdul Fatah Malik and prosecutor-general Shair Muhammad Shaikh attended the meeting.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2014.



Karachi News Sources -2

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