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100 Pakistan #Hindu families cross Attari-Wagah border fearing persecution, say want to settle in India

Manjeet Sehgal 

Refusing to reveal their identity, the Pakistani immigrants said that they do not want to curse Pakistan as it is their motherland, but the situation there is not favorable for the minorities.

Amid the controversy over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), minority Pakistani Hindu families continue to flee the Islamic country saying that they are being persecuted on the basis of their religion.
Nearly 100 Pakistani Hindu families crossed Attari-Wagah border and reached Amritsar on Monday. Meanwhile, around 200 families have reportedly crossed the border this year till now.
The 100 Hindu families, who crossed the border on Monday, said: "Humanity has died in Pakistan and they have told the Islamabad-based Indian Embassy that they want to settle in India."
Several women, children and girls were among those who reached Amritsar with their belongings on Monday. They said they want to perform Hindu religious rites in Haridwar.
Some of the Hindu families also brought with them the mortal remains of their ancestors to immerse in the holy Ganges.
These Hindu families have been given a small duration visa, but the way they have brought their entire belongings hint that they don't want to return to Pakistan.
Refusing to reveal their identity, the Pakistani immigrants said that they do not want to curse Pakistan as it is their motherland, but the situation there is not favourable for the minorities.
Some of the immigrants said that they have come to visit Haridwar and have been given a visa to perform the last rites of their relatives.
Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee chief Manjinder Singh Sirsa, who met these Pakistani immigrants, said that these people have been compelled to leave their country in order to save their religion.
पाकिस्तान से प्रताड़ित होकर आये एक हिंदू डाक्टर परिवार को मैंने बार्डर पर Receive किया
उन्होंने अपनी आपबीती और दुखी हालत जो बताई उसे सुनकर हम सबके रोंगटे खड़े हो गये!

मैं @AmitShah जी से उस परिवार की तरफ से विनती करता हूँ कि इन्हें जल्द ही भारत की नागरिकता दी जाये @PTI_News @ANI https://twitter.com/mssirsa/status/1224266187032256512 
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"The committee had informed the Indian government about the religious persecution of the Hindu-Sikh minorities in Pakistan. We will soon meet Home Minister Amit Shah and will request the government to grant citizenship to these immigrants," Manjinder Singh Sirsa said.
Most of the immigrants do not want to reveal their identity and are silent on the matter. Some of them, the sources said, are also well educated.
What remains to be seen is whether the City Compensatory Allowance (CCA) benefits will also be extended to these immigrants besides others who were forced to leave Pakistan after 2014 or not.

Stranded Pakistanis - And the PTI administration

While Pakistani students in coronavirus-stricken Wuhan issued frantic calls for repatriation, the PTI government invented excuses to dodge its responsibility. On Thursday, Dr Zafar Mirza, SAPM on National Health Services said the government has decided not to repatriate them because in case they were brought back, the epidemic which had been contained by the Chinese government to Wuhan would “spread all over the world like wildfire”. He further maintained that so far China had not allowed evacuation of people from Wuhan. He also claimed that China was the only country where this disease could be successfully diagnosed. A similar stand was taken by the Foreign Office.
Each one of these claims is against the facts. On Tuesday, the European Union announced that it would co-finance air travel to bring Europeans home from Wuhan, with the first aircraft leaving France on Wednesday morning to collect around 250 French citizens. A plane carrying 206 Japanese nationals from Wuhan landed in Tokyo on Wednesday. The same day, Australia and the UK announced that their citizens repatriated from Wuhan were to be quarantined for up to two weeks. On Saturday India evacuated 324 of its nationals from Wuhan. No country talked about China having disallowed foreigners or the WHO issuing advice in this respect or the disease spreading worldwide by repatriation. For that matter, the coronavirus was not confined to Wuhan alone.
The stand taken by the government was in fact yet another example of its lack of competence to deal with a crisis-like situation. Bringing back any number of citizens would test the government’s ability to undertake a complex exercise including sending of special planes with doctors to Wuhan, providing screening facilities at Pakistani airports, setting up isolation wards in hospitals as well as quarantine arrangements to keep those brought from China with doctors and related staff. What’s more, it would require funds.
On Friday PTI Senator Shibli Faraz told the Upper House that if the situation changed the government would evacuate the Pakistani students on this basis. The next day he was contradicter by Dr Mirza, who said the government had decided to stay firm on its earlier decision against repatriation. This sends the message that the PTI administration has turned into a Tower of Babel lacking unity of views on crucial issues.

OP-ED: #Pakistan - Lessons from coronavirus!

Wajid Shamsul Hasan
It is regretfully noted that despite having crossed 70 Pakistan has yet to have a proper and effective infra-structure for meeting human challenges from the fall-out of natural or un-natural disasters. Not only that, to meet consequences of such eventualities like floods and earthquakes, there are hardly any preparations. Remember last earthquake in Pakistan that hit Islamabad and CDA was searching in private sector for giant bull-dozers and excavators to carry out the rescue operations from the debris of multi-storied buildings. One recalls that while authorities were desperately on the lookout for bull dozers to enable the then President General Pervez Musharraf put up his mock show of leading the rescue teams. On the other hand, described as miracle, a British rescue team managed to pull out alive from deep down the debris, victims lying buried for days.
The irony of the situation as we see in Pakistan today following the massive outbreak of coronavirus in China with threatening fall out consequences for Pakistan and other neighbouring countries or international travelling community– is the deplorable inadequacy of medical facilities at home to meet the eventuality. At least 300 people have died in China while several thousands are being treated in time to save them from the dreadful epidemic. It is creditable to the Chinese and their healthcare system to have successfully minimised the fatal consequences of the tragedy of such a vast magnitude. How gigantic is the Chinese effort to meet the challenge that it managed to construct a multi-storied block in matter of days to cater to the emergency medical needs in Wuhan-epicentre of epidemic. That single instance shows how great Chinese are.
Obviously the Chinese situation is one which only the Chinese could meet effectively. In our case-although PM’s Adviser Dr Zafar Mirza-ran into immediate action, the medical/trauma/emergency infra structure that he has available could suffice only to meet a few cases of coronavirus. He did manage to import virus detection kits from wherever they were available. Now one believes, as he claims, he has the internal situation under control as he has enough virus detection kits to scan cases of suspects. His teams of paramedics are diligently carrying out airport scanning of passengers travelling into Pakistan. Good news! One hopes, he is keeping into consideration cases of people having weaker flesh such as the one of his officials of the Polio eradication team found making money by selling expired vaccines. Besides, one must emphasise the need for in hand arrangements to meet challenges emanating from such natural and man-made calamities.
Indeed, this brings us to the over-all medicare system in the country. It must be regretfully stated that despite tall claims of success of “sehat” cards etc. Pakistan does not even have a rudimentary healthcare system to cater to the needs of country’s large population especially in the rural areas where we don’t even have basics of Chinese barefoot doctors. It is surely an irony-often underscored on occasions such as earthquakes/floods/epidemics-that despite Pakistan being seventh nuclear power in the world, having one of fifth biggest armies, and whole lot of richest generals-does not have state of-the-art-hospitals where complicated cases could be treated successfully with confidence, patient assured of first class professional and para-medic facilities. Take the case of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister. His heart condition is such that he has to be abroad to be satisfactorily treated. Similarly one comes across various cases where Pakistani nationals suffering from chronic heart, lung, cancer or needing transplant of organs-have to seek favours for special visas to travel to India for treatment. We don’t even have iota of facilities that could match with India.

Whenever we are caught up on the wrong foot, we write editorials and articles such as these, urging upon our government-to have a proper sense of direction and set of national priorities but to no avail. Remember how the whole Islamabad administration ran helter-skelter when the federal capital was hit by earthquake in 2005. It was an irony to note that Asia’s two nuclear powers were just nowhere in first aid operations when two of their major public places-such as Islamabad’s Marriott Hotel and Mumbai’s prestigious Taj-were set to burning for days by suicide bombers. It knocked the authorities off their senses when they learnt-both in Islamabad and Mumbai-two modern cities-they did not have fire tenders to put off the raging blaze. In Islamabad’s case, its Capital Development Authority (CDA) did not have fire tenders that could hose the inferno at the top floors since their machines had not enough water or strength to throw it up.
One comes across various cases where Pakistani nationals suffering from chronic heart, lung, cancer or needing transplant of organs-have to seek favours for special visas to travel to India for treatment. We don’t even have iota of facilities that could match with India
Situation at that while we found an over active health Advisor to the PM doing the monkey trick of jumping from one tree to another to show performance, we were lucky to have some government functionaries who grasped the Chinese situation in its correct perspective. One such person is our Ambassador to China Naghmana Hashmi put the record straight when Dr Zafar Mirza had announced in panic that the government would evacuate Pakistanis from Wuhan. Ambassador Naghmana took the bold stand to declare on Sunday that Pakistani students would not be evacuated from the virus-hit Chinese city of Wuhan as medical facilities in Pakistan do not meet the standards required to treat a patient diagnosed with coronavirus. In a conversation with Geo News, Hashmi acknowledged that China has the best medical facilities to handle the patients suffering from the disease.
The statement from the envoy came a day after a senior health official in Islamabad announced that the government will not bring its citizens despite multiple requests from the students and their families for immediate evacuation. Earlier speaking to media Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza said that no Pakistani will be allowed to travel back to the country from China till they complete a 14-day observation period-a statement contrary to his original view in which he had said that government was considering to carry out massive evacuation of Pakistanis medically stranded in Wuhan.
It was, however, our envoy Naghmana who assured Pakistani students in Wuhan that they were safe, adding that the four who had been diagnosed with the virus were also making speedy recovery. She conveyed to their parents that there were no problems regarding food and water in Wuhan. ‘Our Chinese hosts are going out of the way to take care of their essential needs.’ Hashmi said that some students were worried about the shortage of food and other issues in Wuhan, but the embassy is fully aware of their concerns and is in constant touch with Chinese authorities in Hubei province.
“I want to assure our citizens that Pakistani Embassy and Chinese government are working jointly to make sure their problems are immediately addressed. Currently, the province is quarantined and no one is allowed to go. As soon as the retrictions are lifted, we will be the first to be with our countrymen,” she assured. She also dismissed the reports that the Pakistani embassy was not receiving phone calls. She clarified that it might be possible that the phones of the mission may have been busy at that time. In the end she acknowledged excellent co-operation that both the Chinese and Islamabad are extending for the alleviation of the sufferings of their citizens.


#Pakistan #PPP - Bilawal warns govt of countrywide movement if PTI doesn't renegotiate deal with IMF

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari warned the government of a "countrywide movement" if it does not renegotiate its deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The PPP chairman was speaking at the inauguration event of the People's Urban Forest programme in Lyari on Tuesday, where he spoke out against the government's deal with the international money lender.
He labelled it the "PTIMF" budget and said that the government had not negotiated the appropriate budget for the people. "We call upon the government to renegotiate its deal with the IMF," he said. "If that does not happen, we will launch a countrywide movement against this budget which is an enemy of the people," he added.
The PPP chairman said that neither did the people of Pakistan nor the PPP accept the budget by the PTI government. He blamed the PTI, saying that their government was robbing people of their economic rights. "The federal government is robbing people of their economic rights," he said. "Last year they gave us less than Rs100 billion in the NFC Award. This year, they have provided us Rs140 billion. With such an amount, how can we give employment to our people?" he asked.He said that the PPP had always empowered the poor of the country and made policies for their welfare. Bilawal said that the PPP had always provided employment to the people of Pakistan.
"If arrangements could not be made to employ people in Pakistan then we ensured that their passports were made free so they could seek employment abroad," he said.
Bilawal described the "Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP)" as a revolutionary concept and said that it was the first safety net initiative of Pakistan.
He blamed the government for "robbing" the people of the BISP and the money that was given to them as a result of the programme. The PPP chairman called upon the people to become his source of strength so that the party is able to form its government again.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah spoke before the PPP chairman did at the event to criticise the federal government, warning them against committing conspiracies.
"At least think of your own people," he said, advising the government to work for the poor and stop conspiring.
He said that the federal government blames the Sindh government for everything. "I hope they don't blame us for the spread of the coronavirus," he said. Murad said that people had started to jump from the PTI's "sinking ship". He said that if the Sindh chief minister said something, it was viewed with doubt. However, if a government official says something, that is accepted.
"You won't get the injection that makes them see hoors," he said, mocking Prime Minister Imran Khan. "For you, relief will only be in the grave."