Militants May Be Entering Karachi
By Hasan Mansoor
As the military takes
action in the tribal areas, Karachi becomes the
safe haven for locals who have no option but to
migrate to safer areas
As jet fighters and
helicopters continue to bomb and raid the tribal
areas in an all-out effort to capture outlaws in
Wana, thousands of locals from this area in the
tribal belt have fled to Karachi in search of shelter.
In recent reports, intelligence agencies have warned
authorities in Islamabad that terrorists hiding
in Wana and other parts of South Waziristan may
cross into Karachi disguised as refugees.
After the military expedited
its operation in the tribal areas last month, a
large number of people, belonging mainly to the
Mehsud tribe, fled Wana for Karachi. Most of these
people have reached the metropolis with their families
but a significant number of them are individuals
who intelligence officials suspect have direct or
indirect links with terrorist organizations. However,
intelligence and provincial government officials
have not released any figures for the exact number
of people who have left the tribal areas for Karachi.
Officials have also not issued any statements about
the kind of economic burden the metropolis might
face if these migrations continue.
According to unofficial
figures compiled by transporters and locals who
are helping the migrants settle, at least 1,000
displaced families have reached Karachi so far and
have settled mainly in the city’s suburbs.
“These migrations are
reason for worry,” a senior investigator told TFT.
“They will multiply our problems by making it easier
for terrorists disguised as common people to enter
major cities and resume their terrorist operations.”
A senior Sindh government official also said the
migrations would damage the “social fabric” of the
city. “It will be dangerous if these people continue
to pour into Karachi,” he said. “This issue will
have to be referred to Islamabad so that measures
may be taken to settle these shelter-seeking people
In light of these migration
and consequent apprehensions, authorities in Islamabad
have been asked to chalk out a method that will
ascertain the identities of the locals entering
the business capital of the country.
Tribesmen from different
parts of Wana and South Waziristan have reached
Karachi in search of shelter. Most of the migrants
have brought along their womenfolk and children
and have settled down in refugee camps in areas
surrounding Sohrab Goth Afghan.
A significant number
of people from the Mehsud tribes have connections
in the transport business of Karachi and are using
the bus service to rescues people from areas where
the government has launched military operations
to flush out foreign militants. The refuges reach
Karachi in inter-city buses whose final stop is
the Sohrab Goth bus stop where hoards of their [refugee’s]
relatives can be seen waiting to welcome the tribesmen
to the city.
“Hundreds of people
from Waziristan have already reached our refugee
camps,” Anwer Mehsud, the manager of an inter-city
transport company told TFT. “The influx continues
but has lost momentum. However, as long as these
people keep coming to us, we will help them because
it is our obligation to stand by them in these testing
times,” he said.
Unlike in the past,
these tribesmen are not job-seeking individuals
who have come to explore Karachi while leaving behind
their families. This time, the elderly, women, children
and heavy belongings have come along with the men
in search of stable lives. The narratives of the