Sindhis’ United Protest on Dec 9 against ‘plan’ to grant citizenship to ‘aliens’

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KARACHI: Leading sub-nationalist groups of Sindh on Tuesday announced that they would jointly observe a day of protest on Dec 9 against the government’s “conspiracy to grant citizenship to foreigners”, hold demonstrations, take out rallies and sit in token hunger strikes across the province.

The announcement was made by the leaders of the Sindh United Party, Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz, Sindh Taraqqi-pasand Party and other parties and groups at the SUP’s headquarters, Hyder Manzil, where a multiparty conference was held to discuss the controversy raging on granting citizenship to the Muslims from Myanmar, Bangladesh and other countries.

SUP president Jalal Mehmood Shah, JSQM chairman Sanan Qureshi, STP chief Dr Qadir Magsi, Awami Jamhoori Party’s Aman Shaikh, Nawaz Shah Bhadai of the Jeay Sindh Mahaz (Riaz Chandio faction) and several others attended the conference. They discussed a joint strategy to confront the government’s alleged plan to grant citizenship to illegal ‘aliens’ from Myanmar, Bangladesh and Afghanistan having no refugee status.

‘Get all Burmese, Bengalis and Afghans registered as foreigners and shift them to camps’

“All the parties in the conference unanimously agreed that all sorts of settlement of foreigners and granting them legal cover in Sindh will be utterly against the very existence of Sindh,” said Mr Shah while speaking at the press conference.“All the parties believing in national[ist] thinking have decided to launch a joint struggle on a single platform to combat this deep conspiracy,” he added.

The leaders who attended the multiparty conference said Sindh had joined the federation of Pakistan as a national entity carrying thousands of years of history and it had every right to safeguard its demography while being a part of the same federation.

“The question relating to Sindh’s demography is the cardinal part of Sindh’s interests for which its people will not accept settlement of foreign nationals on their land,” said a statement issued at the conclusion of the conference.

It said: “We demand that the government get all Burmese, Bengalis and Afghans registered as foreigners and shift them to duly confined camps.”

The conference also demanded that the more than three million Afghan refugees be repatriated to their country as per the order of the Supreme Court.

The leaders told the media that a ‘Sindh Action Committee’ was formed during the meeting in which all the participating parties were represented. This committee, with a steering committee, will conceive, formulate and execute a future course of action on the issue as per the guidelines from their senior leadership.

The members of those parties would observe token hunger strikes across Sindh on Dec 9. Besides, demonstrations and rallies would be part of the overall strategy.

They further said that a formal roadmap for the future course of struggle would be designed by the steering committee, also representing all the parties in the alliance.

Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2017