A US-based non-profit organisation, the South Asian Minorities Alliance Foundation, has written a letter to US President Donald Trump highlighting the abuses faced by Mohajirs in Pakistan, ahead of the leader`s meeting with the South Asian country`s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday.
In his letter, the organisation`s founder, Nadeem Nusrat, urged Trump to “raise several critical issues” with Khan during their upcoming meeting.
This includes the state of affairs in Karachi — home to Mohajirs — which remains deprived of even the most basic civic facilities, according to Nadeem.
He highlighted that Karachi`s millions of frustrated, poor, and unemployed, yet talented and educated, youth could easily fall prey to religious extremists, including ISIS, which recently vowed to make Pakistan its next powerbase.
“Reforms in Karachi are the key to turning the corner on resisting the terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan to benefit not only the interest of the US but those of the civilized world,” Nadeem stated in his letter.
“As we all know, criminal and terrorist forces thrive in places where frustration, poverty and hunger dominate. This is why it is critical from the US safety and security perspective to work closely with Pakistan to ensure justice for people living in urban Sindh. Again, largescale political and financial reforms in Karachi are key to the elimination of the terrorist elements in Pakistan,” he added.
He highlighted a few focus areas in Karachi which could be raised during the Khan-Trump meeting.
They range from the fair representation of the people of Karachi to the persecution of Mohajirs, or Indian Muslims who migrated to Pakistan after the partition of India in 1947.
“There must be a crack-down on the draconian brutality of the actions of the quasi-military police force which is the source of deaths, kidnappings, enforced disappearances, political engineering, and basic civil rights abuses,” Nadeem said.
“Law and order is a serious issue in Karachi. Over 90 per cent of the personnel of every law enforcement agency operating in Karachi is recruited from outside the city. At first brush, that may not seem important. However, we get back to the ethnic and cultural prejudice,” he wrote.
“The large majority of Karachi citizens subject to these abuses are Urdu-speaking Mohajirs: Mohajirs are the descendants of those Indian Muslims who migrated to Pakistan after the partition of India in 1947; The religious, cultural and ethnic differences of these Mohajirs from the law enforcement personnel, who are not Mohajirs, is the basis of the gross human rights atrocities,” Nadeem stated.
“These non-local security forces treat citizens of Karachi with utmost disrespect and contempt. Human rights violations are a daily occurrence and thousands of Karachi`s citizens have gone missing in the last few years after being taken into unlawful custody by non-local law enforcement agencies.
Around 25,000 people in Karachi have also been killed in fake encounters at the hands of police and paramilitary forces,” he said, highlighting the issue of enforced disappearances in Pakistan.
He also outlined that a few law enforcement agencies patronise and protect organised criminal gangs — known as tanker mafia — that steal Karachi`s water from main pipelines and sell it to Karachi`s poor residents through privately-owned tankers at exorbitant prices.
“In addition, two federal governments in Pakistan, in 1990 and 1996, were dissolved due to their involvement in extrajudicial executions of Karachi citizens, but the state has prosecuted even a single culprit responsible for these crimes against humanity. These facts have been reported by Amnesty International, UNO`s Commission on Human Rights, UNO`s Special Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearance, as well as many other independent human rights organizations,” he added.
Nadeem further stated that these intimidation tactics to politically control the population of Karachi through the denial of basic human needs and the right of representation are adverse to the political and security interest of the US.
“If it continues, ISIS and similar terrorist organisations can prey on the vulnerabilities of this Karachi population and find sanctuaries there…Chinese influence is sneaking its way into the Karachi vicinity and maybe in a position, with the direct or indirect approval of the Pakistan government, to lure those needy citizens of Karachi to work and thereby be brought into the influence of the Chinese government,” he stated.
“The World Bank has catalogued even more problems than I have described in this letter that the city of Karachi is facing. The authors of the report have made some important recommendations besides strongly urging the Pakistan Government to spend at least 10 billion dollars every year on top of the city`s regular annual budget to make Karachi a viable city. Both federal and Sindh governments, however, have refused to implement any of those recommendations,” the founder said.
He requested Trump to instruct the US State Department and the USAID to work closely with Karachi and Pakistan`s elected leadership to promote fair representation of the citizens of Karachi in the local and national government, free speech, religious freedom, free trade, freedom from oppressive para-military police force actions and provide opportunities for basic human development.