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Editorial: Refugee as political card

Pakistani electronic media, a bunch of analysts and certain political parties such as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have become intolerable toward Afghan refugees. PTI has lost public trust in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for its failed policies and container politics. The long-time chairperson of the PTI has promised Pashtuns in the province to improve their lifestyle and initiate work on scores of mega development projects. However, he along with his party members remained too busy in protests and sit-in in Islamabad and other parts of the neighboring countries. Although, in coalition, the party leaders know that their future is bleak as they had not delivered on their promises.

Corruption is all times high. The difference now is that the demand for bribe is high—beyond capacity of lower or the middle class. The job that was offered by the Member of Provincial Assembly (MPA) or the Member of National Assembly (MNA) at Rs 600,000 is now for sale at Rs1200,000. Once can say that the PTI empowered the elite class. Moreover, terror attacks had shocked the students and their parents as the terrorists targeted educational institutions and other public places. Residents of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province have not forgotten the massacre carried out at the Bacha Khan University in Charsadda. As the party leadership has supported the insurgents including the Taliban, therefore, it was found reluctant to chase the terrorists and take action against those clerics who are training militants.

On the contrary, the party had provided PKR three million to a seminary where the Taliban were trained. Thus, the PTI failed on military front because it has no intention to improve security. On economic front it did not provided facilities to the businessmen. Frequent power outage is another feather in the PTI leadership’s cap. To divert public attention for important issue, the provincial government is using Afghan refugees as a tool. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has gone against wishes of the residents and international laws. The provincial authorities are arresting scores of Afghan refugees on daily basis. The poor refugees, tired of wars and victims of Pakistan’s strategic depth policy, are bearing the brunt of strained Afghan-Pak relations. The two countries have yet overhaul bilateral ties and plug the loopholes.

Therefore, Nawaz Sharif’s coalition government in the center should take steps to normalize the ties between Kabul and Islamabad by protecting rights of the Afghan refugees. Parties like PTI should not be allowed to fuel anti-Afghanistan sentiments in Pakistan because it would have long-lasting negative impact on ties between the two countries.

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