Political forces in Balochistan demand inclusion of IDPs in census

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The Balochistan Solidarity Jirga on Saturday demanded of the government to ensure inclusion of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the upcoming census.

The jirga, held at Sarawan House and attended by prominent political, religious and tribal personalities, also urged the government to keep foreigners in the province out of the census.

The participants of the jirga — including three former chief ministers of the province: Sadar Akhtar Jan Mengal, Dr Abdul Malik Baloch, Nawab Ghous Bakhsh Barozai — urged the federal government to address the reservations and apprehensions of indigenous people with regard to the presence of Afghan refugees.

Nawabzada Lashkari Raisani chaired the jirga, which thoroughly discussed reservations and apprehensions of political forces regarding the upcoming census in the province.

"We cannot accept foreigners as shareholders in our properties," Sardar Akhtar Mengal, the chief of Balochistan National Party (BNP) told participants of the jirga.

The jirga observed that a large number of people were displaced as result of worsening law and order situation in the province.

"We want immediate rehabilitation and inclusion of IDPs in the census," Raisani said.

Pakistan has been home to Afghan refugees for more than three decades.

"We will not accept census in the presence of foreigners," said Dr Malik Baloch, the former chief minister Balochistan.

Through a declaration, the jirga demanded holding free and fair census in Balochistan. "Balochistan needs a fair deal", Bismiullah Kakar, the deputy convener of solidarity jirga said.

Participants of the jirga vowed to continue joint struggle for ensuring fair and free census in Balochistan to ensure justice and equality.

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