Chinese presence in Pakistan is undeniably growing, especially since the CPEC became a reality. Some people are welcoming the influx of our friends from the land of the Great Wall, others aren’t as happy about the increase in new faces that they see around their cities.
Muzamil Shah Watan Yar, a Facebook user, has sparked a very important debate by uploading a photo of what allegedly shows a Chinese person with a Pakistani CNIC.
The picture shows the National Identity Card used in Pakistan, but it was allegedly granted to a Chinese national. He then mocks our pan-Islamism by asking the crucial question of why Afghans and Pashtuns, who have dedicated all their lives for this country, are not granted an NIC.
People had a lot to say about this interesting development
Pakistanis often boast of having the second largest refugee population in the world
This is confirmed by the reports of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). There has not been a point in history when Pakistan hesitated even for a millisecond before taking refugees in.
At the time of the Soviet war in Afghanistan (1979), several Afghans had to flee to Pakistan to seek refuge. The Pakistani side had made arrangements for their stay. And this population decided to stay back even after the war ended in 1989.
Most of Pakistan’s refugee population is the Afghans, out of a total refugee population of 1,505,525.
Afghans are mostly settled in the Pashtun province of KP, because of its closeness to Afghanistan and also because of a lesser language barrier. And in the province of KP, they find it easier to adapt to the culture. Many of them indulged themselves in finding labor and have stuck to this ever since.
The problem arises when you realize that even after spending quite some time in Pakistan, the state has not owned them at all.
They are still living in the spaces they occupied after arrival in the country and can do nothing but labour because the state does not recognize them. Several are born here and several have married here, but all of them have the status of refugees. They are not given national identity cards, no formal education or means of earning to be able to get out of the lowest starta of life in Pakistan.
Today, several Pakistanis feel that these Afghans (who have spent half of their lives in Pakistan) are taking away their economic opportunities. They do not want to share their resources with them anymore and want them to return back to their own country; a country they might not know much about.
The irony is that when the same happens in the USA, we call them bigots
We may color our display pictures black in solidarity with the Rohingyas in Myanmar, but little do we know that there is a Rohingya population in Pakistan too
And we treat them the same way as we treat the Afghan refugees.
In 1962, an estimated 500,000 Rohingya families moved to Karachi. During the 1980s, their number increased. Then General Zia decided to put them in Madrassas and include them in the Afghan Jihad. However, despite their participation they have not been accepted into the society.
Most Rohingyas in Pakistan have been unable to obtain citizenship
Many do not even have a national identity card, preventing them from access to public schools, government run healthcare and such everyday things as opening a bank account.
They face harassment on a regular basis because of lack of documentation and have to fight to get basic facilities.
This is certainly food for thought, what do you think?
Cover image via: Muzamil Shah Watan Yar / Facebook