KARACHI - Awami National Party (ANP) Sindh General Secretary Younus Khan Banori has condemned what he called ‘ethnic profiling’ of Pukhtoons in Punjab and said linking Pukhtoons with terrorism will have serious consequences for the federation.

Addressing a press conference at Karachi Press Club (KPC) on Thursday, ANP leader said that during the last few days an atmosphere of fear and harassment had been created in Punjab against the Pukhtoons as the province’s police was victimising a specific community by carrying out racial profiling.  He said that the government, instead of implementing the National Action Plan (NAP) in its true sprit, had adopted a new policy that could lead to a rise in regional biases.

“PML-Nawaz’s ill-advised activities in Punjab are creating hatred against the police despite their sacrifices in the war on terrorism,” the ANP leader said, and warned that regional prejudices would grow beyond control if this practice was not halted immediately.

He said that Mandi Bahauddin district police had issued formal or informal orders to the market organisations and asked the locals to keep an eye on suspicious individuals who look like Pukhtoons. “This is a worst example of racial discrimination as the same people who stood for the creation of Pakistan are being victimised on the orders coming from Raiwind,” Banori said, and termed the entire episode violation of country’s constitution.

He lamented that after the crackdown in Punjab and federal capital, the same was being replicated in Sindh.

He added that party leadership had expressed concern over the arrests of Pukhtoons from the outskirts of Karachi and parts of Hyderabad during a meeting.

He said that situation had deteriorated to such an extent that Pakhtoons were being nabbed even when they produce genuine Computerized National Identity Cards (CNICs).

“We have warned the black sheep in Sindh Police to halt such practices and perform their duties as per law and avoid creating problems for the Pukhtoon residents of Karachi and Hyderabad,” he informed.

Banori said that the party had remained under attack and was not able to carry on political activities in Karachi. “Everyone is aware that what happened in General Elections of 2013 as the terrorists targeted the party candidates and election offices,” he said, and added, “It is after a long time that ANP is once again putting in efforts to restore its political activities in Karachi and so far has held a massive public gathering in the city.”

Sharing details about the party chief Asfandyar Wali Khan’s visit to Karachi on March 26, the ANP leader said Asfandyar was scheduled to address a public gathering in the end of March. “These days we are focusing on giving him a warm welcome on his arrival,” he concluded.

Pasban blasts targeting of Pakhtoons

Meanwhile, expressing grave concern over the ethnic witch-hunt of some communities, especially in Sindh and Punjab, Pasban Pakistan President Altaf Shakoor on Thursday asked the rulers to end communal discrimination and treat every Pakistani with equal respect and honour because all Pakistanis are equal.

Talking to different delegations, he said that Pasban completely supported the ongoing operations against law-breakers and terrorists, but hounding Pashtu speaking people in Punjab and other parts of the country on the pretext of these operations was very sad.  He said similarly there were many complaints from Karachi that certain ethnic communities were being targeted, which, he said, was illegal and unconstitutional.

He reminded that in recent past, PPP and MQM deliberately fanned ethnic divide in Karachi to get sympathy votes at the cost of national unity and solidarity. “Their politics, dominated by militant wings and Aman committees, led to blood bath in Karachi,” he said, and castigated both PPP and MQM by saying hands of both the parties were stained with the blood of innocent people who were tortured and murdered by their terrorists and target killers.

He said now the government of Punjab had started targeting Pashtuns in lower Punjab and the Sindh government has also not lagged behind, which, he termed, as highly regrettable.

The Pasban leader said ethnic divide was a poison for Pakistan and it should be opposed and stopped at all costs. Shakoor was of the view that action against criminals and law breakers should be taken irrespective of their ethnic backgrounds.

He regretted that sadly the government of Sindh was not ready for across the board action against criminals. “This is why it has refused to give special powers to the Rangers in the whole province and the latter’s role is limited to Karachi only, which, in fact, is discriminatory. He further said,

“We have already lost East Pakistan due to this flawed approach and the remaining Pakistan cannot afford these follies of the ruling class anymore.”

In the end, he said that Pasban would fight against this dangerous approach at all available forums.