Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’

Now a days, people from all school of thoughts are discussing the issue of Afghan Immigrants being asked to leave Pakistan by 31st December 2016. Some people argue that it shall be benign to keep Afghans here in the country and others see Afghans as a security threat. But by doing so, they tend to see the picture in either black or white.

The group who favors keeping them in Pakistan, totally forget the issues associated with keeping them here in the country which involve security mainly and then social issues like narcotics, smuggling, robberies and kidnapping for ransom etc. While advocating for keeping them here in the country they usually rely on expounding lower level benefits they bring about. For example an afghan working in fields of a small scale farmer. Other than that they give examples for history as to how ancient tribal people used to open the doors for immigrants.

On the other hand, the group who opposes the extended residency of Afghans here in the country don’t usually seems concerned about finding a way to harness the expertise of skilled, unskilled and (or) semi-skilled labor for boosting country’s economy and generating new opportunities in order to exploit the opportunity of availability of cheap labor.

We are living in the twenty first century which is governed by free trade agreements. All developing countries are doing is to create such a business friendly environment as governed by universal labor laws in order to attract multinational companies to set up their business there so that more jobs are created and manpower is utilized for the betterment. In a broader canvas, the developed countries like Australia, Canada and USA, import skilled or semi-skilled manpower from other countries which in return serve their economy. One country’s brain drain becomes brain of other country.

Taking about Pakistan, there is no official policy to curb brain drain or increase brain gain. One can just go through the official website of Directorate General of Immigration and Passports to know that Pakistan is still living in past century where one is Pakistani either by birth or by migration of by descent. The language used on this website page is also vague and doesn’t provide any information about migrants (like Afghan Migrants) and those kids who are born to a migrant in Pakistan as to how can they apply for Pakistani citizenship. However, under Citizen By Birth clause the official website doesn’t forget to specify that children of enemy born in Pakistan are not considered citizens without paying heed to defining as to who is enemy. Do we consider Afghan as an enemy state or friendly state? The word enemy is specific to only one country? If officially we talk about enemies it begs the same question about friendly state(s) and what is the fate of children of friendly aliens born in Pakistan? All of the verbose in those website is so confusing.

In all of the developed or developing world there are some rules and regulations set regarding immigration. Countries like Canada and Australia rely on the efficacy of points based system in which a person has to prove him/herself fit for job, security clearance and qualification etc and after residing in such countries for up to five years one can get the citizenship. These countries also give opportunity to provinces to carry out provincial nominees and other such programs so that if a province feels that there is shortage of manpower, it can seek from outer world. In Pakistan we can see that a child of Afghan descent born in Pakistan cannot apply for Pakistani citizenship.

If a migrant is having business here in Pakistan or doing a job, he/she must be entertained with respect and given full opportunity to prove themselves and after a prescribed time frame given Pakistan citizenship with due process which includes security clearance, education background and (or) worth of business etc. In this way they will come in the mainstream and Pakistan will commence brain gain.

It is high time that we open our doors and follow the norms as in place in other countries which must include but not limited to:

  1. Right to apply for citizenship of Afghans or other migrants, subject to such security clearance or skills or qualification as deemed necessary by the state.
  2. Right given to provinces to nominate immigrant applications.
  3. A change in federal immigration policy with a view of brain gain and lucrative opportunities for foreign resident Pakistanis
  4. Repealing of rule to not grant immigration to a person married to Pakistani woman

Just giving deadlines to leave the country to those who were born here and have been living in the country for almost three decades now is not only inhumane but also doesn’t conform to the international laws and regulations governing migrants. State always has the right to deport or cancel the passports of those who are considered security threat.

 

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Now a days there is a lot of hue and cry is going on about China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and its future prospects termed as Game Changer in the world and making Pakistan an Asian Tiger. We are used to the term Asian Tiger now whenever, Nawaz Sharif, happens to be in power raises this slogan. Let’s leave it on the history and historians if Pakistan became and Asian Tiger or not in all those years of PMLN regime and focus on as to what does this “game changer” means.

Let’s discuss some key points which may be considered as Game Changer in the region:

  1. Changing the Fate of Kashmir?

The Economic Corridor will start from Chinese province Xingiang and enter Gilgit Baltistan. Here India comes into the scenario. India declares this territory of Gilgit Baltistan as hers and claims that it is Pakistan Occupied Kashmir which must be liberated and made part of (Indian Occupied) Jammu and Kashmir. Owing to this, new Delhi has taken an exception to this project and reportedly Indian Prime Minister termed this project as “un-acceptable” during his meeting with Chinese President.

Here, I see a silver lining in the dark clouds. As it is being reported that the project of economic corridor is of a strategic importance for China, we may see China playing its role in bringing both the countries to the negotiating table to find an amicable solution or dismemberment of this territory. Since, without resolving this issue the dream of CPEC may not be fulfilled in its true spirit. We will have to wait and see what kind of “game changing” solution is in the pipeline in this regard.

  1. Pakistan-Afghan Relations

Here is another game changing scenario which CPEC may yield for the betterment of Pak-Afghan war trodden people. Pakistan may be now looking towards better relation with Afghanistan shunning its policy of ‘strategic depth’. Similarly Afghanistan may have understood that having good relations with neighbor are more important than neighbor of the neighbor. Since the economic corridor is mainly meant to transport goods from China via the shortest route and import oil from (e.g.,) gulf in a similar manner the safety of this rout is of utmost importance to her. Pakistan has already announced the deployment of a dedicated army unit for the safety of economic corridor but it is not possible without eradicating the so called ‘safe heavens’ for terrorists on both sides of the Durand Line so as to ensure safety of the transport link as it passes through KPK and Northern Areas. In this scenario China will play a vital role in bringing about peace in the region and fighting the common enemy of terrorism also when China is investing in Afghanistan as well and the proposed corridor is likely to be utilized for Afghanistan Transit Trade as well.

  1. Progress in Local Manufacturing Sector

Due to load shedding and law and order situation (being main reasons) Pakistan’s Local Manufacturing Industry has been either on a spree of either shutting down or shifting to other countries like Bangladesh. Now there is a hope that our local industry may flourish since Government has announced the provision of Industrial Parks along the economic corridor. One may hope that Pakistan is not made the dumping ground of cheap Chinese products and focus is given on the local production to make most of the corridor to transport the material for export etc. If this happens it will be game changer for Pakistan in a positive manner otherwise. It will also prove to be a game changer for Pakistan if the local industry dies due to Chinese products ‘invasion’ in a negative manner. In this scenario, Pakistan will only act as a ‘post office’ or ‘Cargo’ company it is fate will be consumer market only!

  1. Are we being prepared for another adventure?

When the trumpeters of the Economic Corridor in Pakistan term this project as a game changer, one who is aware of the history of the territories comprising today’s Pakistan, gets scared. It has been around 30 years that Pakistan is in the state of the war. The generation born in early 80s have not seen this country in peace, ever. First we were fighting against communism in the name of Jihad and created thieves to counter thieves. One may be scared that in the war of communism and capitalism, now it might be the turn of communism to use the cheap labor of this region to fight a Holy War against capitalism. China’s one party system is like an inchoate religion. If it happens it will be the game changer in a theocratic society of Pakistan. State has already kept mute regarding persecution of Uygur Muslims by China and so are our religious parties.

The above is just a small activity to find out as to what is meant by ‘Game Changer’. Is there something concrete behind this slogan or it is just a hollow slogan, like we have been listening to since decades. Nevertheless, this project is epoch making and whole nation hopes that it augurs well. What country needs now is not a political leader but a statesman who could foresee at-least 100 years ahead from now and takes decisions as such.

 

Mursalan Haider

(03-06-15)

Twitter: @mursalan

WordPress: mursalan.wordspress.com