Differing opinions on evacuation plan
Change in America’s plan with regard to the evacuation of foreigners from Kabul does not carry much of a surprise. It has to act in the light of the updates provided by its agencies. It says that the airports in Lahore and Karachi airports will now remain on stand-by, while the passengers will be brought only to Islamabad airport. It has also reduced the number of passengers to be evacuated. For the accommodation of the evacuated persons, as many as 11 hotels have already been booked in Peshawar.
Meanwhile, opinion in KP and in the rest of the country remains divided about Pakistan’s liberal visa policy under which the foreigners from Kabul are being brought. Political parties complain that the parliament and the opposition were not taken on board before the decision. Head of the foreign affairs wing of the Jamaat-i-Islami, Asif Luqman Qazi, expressed the fear that, in the garb of foreigners, people like Raymond Davis may not infiltrate once again. He said that the USA had not demanded such liberal visa facilities even from India, which was its strategic partner in the region.
Former interior minister in the PML-N government, Ahsan Iqbal, said that the government should ensure tracking of the foreigners who entered Pakistan. It should also make sure that they left after the specified time. Senior PPP leader and the former chairman of the Senate, Raza Rabbani, said the government should see to it that extremists belonging to Daish should not enter the country. The government should disclose the nationalities of the foreigners being allowed in the country and ensure that they do not mix up with the common people.
On the other hand, the ANP and the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party had a lenient view. ANP’s information secretary, Zahid Khan, said that the Afghans who wanted to leave their country should be allowed to do so, especially after the Kabul airport blast. Similarly, addressing a news conference in Quetta, the chief of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, Mehmood Khan Achakzai, said that no country in the world prevented anyone from migration, if he was faced with an Afghanistan-like situation.