| by Ali Sukhanver
( February 27, 2014, Islamabad, Sri Lanka Guardian) The law and order situation in Pakistan would have been altogether different, if Pakistan were not so generous in hosting millions of Afghan Refugees. Pakistan is still hosting over 1.61 million registered Afghan refugees and this is the largest number of refugees with the ever longest stay in the present history of the world. According to a document of UNHCR, the return of almost 3.8 million registered Afghan refugees has been made possible since 2002. In spite of the fact that some of the Afghan Refugees have ever been involved in anti-Pakistan activities, the government of Pakistan has never tried to push them back across the borders simply because it has always been the basic ingredient of the Pakistan’s policy to safeguard the basic human rights to every possible extent.
|Image courtesy: dildilpakistan.wordpress.com|
The Afghan Refugees are settled in the provinces of Balochistan, KPK and Punjab and many of them could be seen in the province of Sind also. The government of Pakistan has established 81 Refugee Villages on government-owned land where more than 592,648 refugees are enjoying all facilities of health, education and employment. According to UNHCR there are 1.61 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan and such a large number is no doubt a huge burden on Pakistan’s already fragile economy. But throughout these years not even a single complaint has been launched by the refugees against the Pakistani authorities responsible for their rehabilitation. The Afghan refugees have been given the same rights and privileges as are given to the people of Pakistan. It is the basic preaching of Islam to take care of the refugees that is why the Afghan refugees feel at home here.
On the other hand, all over the world, the refugees are never treated with Pakistan like hospitality. Particularly in India, we have the ever worst examples of maltreatment with the refugees. Last December world renowned reporter, producer and TV journalist Karishma Vyas visited a refugee camp at Loi near Muzaffarnager where more than 2000 refugees are living a painful life. All of these refugees are Indian nationals; they had to run away from their native town Muzaffarnager when the Hindu extremists started burning their homes, raping their women and slaughtering them indiscriminately last September 2013.
Karishma Vyas narrated her observations; “This was Loi relief camp, the epitome of misery. There was no electricity and the temperature had plummeted to single digits. A dense winter fog had set in so we could only see the camp in eerie shadows and shapes. Mohammad Shakir wanted to tell us his story. He took us into his flimsy tent where his four children and wife were bundled up under a blanket. If we had visited in November we would have met his nine-month-old son, Sofian. But the infant died of pneumonia on the first of December; unable to survive the poor living conditions and the onset of winter. Almost all are Muslims who fled communal clashes in their villages last September. They told us they have no homes to return to after they were looted and burned by members of another religious community.” Certainly the Afghan refugees must be thankful to God Almighty that they are in Pakistan; if they were unfortunately in India, what could have been their fate; they could easily guess upon. The Indian authorities are doing all best possible for the Muzaffarnager refugees but the sufferers of the Muzaffarnager tragedy are facing everywhere a typical type of racial and religious discrimination. According to different independent media resources, the number of rape victims in the Muzaffarnager riots is more than fifty. The Muzaffarnager riots took place in September 2013 and till now only seven cases of rape have been registered and the latest of these was registered in the third week of this February, almost five months after the incident. This case was registered at Phugana police station against three culprits of Laank village. There names were Kuldeep, Maheshvir and Sakaindar.
These three allegedly gang-raped a Muslim woman during the riots but the police remained reluctant in registering the FIR. At last the woman had to approach the State Government and on the direction of the State Government the case was registered. The spokesman of the AMU Lawyers Forum said in a press briefing that this one is the seventh gang-rape case which has been registered by the police, earlier six cases against 27 people were registered separately and 22 accused in five cases were found involved by the Special Investigation Team.
These examples of lawlessness and racial injustice are no doubt very comforting and pleasing for the peace-loving sections of the Indian society but more unfortunate is the fact that instead of cleaning up the home-grown weeds, the Indian hi-ups are still harping on the same old string trying to frame up Pakistan and the ISI behind every act of injustice and terrorism. A few days back, The Indian Express reported that two Muslim clerics were arrested last month for their suspected links to Lashkar-e-Taiba. These clerics were from Haryana and they had been visiting their distressed Muslim brothers in the Refugee Camps after the Muzaffarnager riots. The Indian Intelligence agencies without any proof, blamed that the two clerics were working with the ISI and were looking for the suitable young men who could work for the ISI.
The crux of the matter is that the Indian authorities must realize that friendly relations between the two countries are the most urgent need of time. Always a state of war and all time a battle-field like scenario would result in nothing but more disaster, more destruction and more depression. Both the countries will have to launch joint venture to counter the menace of terrorism but before this the blame game will have to be ended. In the larger interest of the South-Asian region a Joint Action Team, comprising of the members from all the regional intelligence agencies may also be constituted under the command of the ISI because the ISI is more experienced in the issues of countering terrorism.