It is easy to understand the uneasiness of some nationalist parties over Imran Khan’s statement regarding citizenship to people of Bengali and Afghan parentage. What is beyond comprehension is the immature response of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). One of the party’s members of National Assembly, Nafeesa Shah, fell for the appeal of ethnic nationalism and called Imran’s statement “insensitive”. What is insensitive is the response of all those parties who are opposing Imran Khan for his idea.

The Prime Minister (PM) has said nothing that can be defined as illegal. He has only repeated what the law of the land is. What Imran wanted was to act on the law already dealing with the question of citizenship and nationality. What is ironic is that PPP, a party that has always taken pride in calling itself a centre-left party, is politicising the issue to gain some political mileage; the opportunism is utterly shameful.

PPP and all other parties have been displaying a very callous attitude towards people who have no voice, no representation at any forum. Ms Shah tried to point fingers towards Saudi’s policy in this regard; however, what she forgets is that two wrongs do not make a right.

The only contrast in Imran’s actions are the words of Sardar Akhtar Mengal who criticised Khan for his silence on the worse situation of economic and socio-political rights of the Baloch people. However, the opposition’s attitude towards the question of refugees reveals certain trends, norms and paranoia. To preserve the existing comfortable demographics, it seems as if the opposition parties will oppose the government for anything. It is almost a norm to create hurdles in the way of the ruling party even if it takes a decision that is according to the law.

Imran’s statement on granting nationality to Afghans and Bengalis born here will be an implementation of section 4 of the Citizenship Act of 1951. The unnecessary noise made by the opposition shows that these parties have not taken a moment out to go through the said piece of legislation.

As the issue is hotly contested in the National Assembly, the debate has revealed the ugly side of our society; we are morally bankrupt. Apathy is the defining trait of the political parties of Pakistan. Forcing these people to live in ghettos for years and years without any help from the state in social and economic uplift, yet we have the spine to ask “but why do they hate us?”

PTI is trying to take everyone on board on the issue; hence a debate is allowed on the floor of the assembly. Otherwise, according to the law, these people are as entitled to demand nationality as any other new-born Pakistani is.