RSS Feed

Sindh Government Should Not Patronize Police Excesses

Police Brutality

The rampant high-handedness and excesses of police are turning Pakistan fast into a country where the law enforcement agencies are found suppressing the minority groups with impunity. The raiding police parties have no regards to the family and private life of Pakistani citizens who break into any residential compound without the need for seeking prior court order for such raids.

In a recent instance, the police broke into house of Pakistan Hazaras in Block 11 of Gulshan-e-Iqbal at 4:00 AM on 05-03-2017 on pretext of apprehending a high value target.

This Organisation has received complaints from the local residents that the police raided their houses in the early hours of morning on 5th March. Despite verifying them through CNICs, the police resorted to physical torture, abusive language and threatening to women, children and elderly people alike.

After breaking into a house and verifying their IDs through their CNICs, they dragged the teenage male member of the family into their van and made him identify the other residents in the area. They checked-in those houses and demanded for verification through their CNICs. These highly objectionable and unlawful raids of the police, without formal permission from the court; are in breach of the Constitution of Pakistan and international covenants. The Constitution of Pakistan guarantees and protects the inalienable rights of its citizen through its articles 4 and 9. These articles also prohibits depriving someone of their family and private life and liberty. Accordingly, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) also protects the rights of individuals and their liberty, especially its articles 9 and 17. There are, however, a number of other international covenants, ratified and signed by Pakistan which bind the country to by abide by and honour its commitments in protecting the rights of individuals and minority groups.

Pakistan’s history testifies loyalty and patriotism of Hazaras beyond reasonable doubts as they have always been law-abiding and sincere to the land. They have never allowed any person mingle with local populace who may have been suspected or found involved in subverting and anti-State activities. In fact, the Hazaras are the only minority group whose forefathers saved the country from the threat of regional annihilation at the hands of India in 1965 war when General Musa Khan Hazara commanded the Pak army as its Commander-in-Chief.

HUM’s grave concern is if the Federal and Singh governments do not take the elements of police accountable for their recent unlawful raids and brutal behaviour, such actions will further alienate the sympathies of minority groups resulting in involvement of the UN’s Human Rights Council and international human rights organisations.

Targeted Killings of Hazara Women in Quetta Lament Government’s Complicity

Targeted Killings of Hazara Women in Quetta Lament Government’s Complicity
Dead Body of a Victim

Dead Body of a Victim

Today’s unfortunate incident of targeted killings which took the lives of 5 innocent Hazara women in Quetta, Balochistan is the worst example of Pakistan’s federal and Balochistan’s provincial governments for protecting the religious extremists in the restive province. The victims were commuting home on a local bus when the terrorists stopped the vehicle, identified their targets and shot them instantly.

Meanwhile, Lashker-e-Jhangvi Al Alami claims the responsibility of the attack in a telephone call to the NNI.

Although previous reports have confirmed that ASWJ, Lej, Al Qaeda and recently-emerged ISIS are executing such attacks in concert, and despite government being aware of their collaborations, has taken no practical steps to prosecute their leaders under National Action Plan. The constitution of Pakistan obligates the government and security agencies for providing foolproof safety to its citizens. Unfortunately, in preceding cases of terrorist attacks on Hazaras, the government exercised a complete sense of marginalisation and alienation towards them. The government’s inaction against religious extremists of ASWJ and its affiliates in Balochistan renders the former complicit and supportive to the terrorists, hence, making her indictable for crimes against humanity. In a similar example, today the three-bench member of the Supreme Court conducted a suo moto hearing of the incidence of 8th August which targeted lawyers in Quetta’s civil hospital. The bench held security agencies responsible for the attack.

The government of Pakistan has never taken any meaningful action against the religious extremists who have set up training camps in parts of Balochistan province, harbouring and facilitating terrorist attacks in the province and throughout the country in an effort to deepen the gulf between various ethno-religious communities. In recent examples of suicide attacks in Pakistan, the intelligence reports have confirmed that the suicide bombers were dispatched from Balochistan but the government never took any serious action against the masterminds, abetters, financiers and collaborators.

In particular, Shafeeq Mengal and Ramzan Mengal are proactively supporting terrorist activities especially against the Hazaras but the government has turned a completely blind eye to this sensitive matter.

Unabated Targeted Killings of Hazaras Expose Government’s Compicity

Deceased Muhammad Nabi (Coalmine Labourer)

Deceased Muhammad Nabi (Coalmine Labourer)

Today, two innocent Hazaras became the latest victims of terrorists on Sariab Road, Quetta when the poor coalmine labourers were target killed. According to sources, the assailants stopped an auto rickshaw and identified the victims as Hazaras before shooting them from point blank. As usual, the target-killers fled the scene after the attack.

Ghulam Nabi (Coalmine Worker)

Ghulam Nabi (Coalmine Worker)

The unabated targeted attacks on innocent Hazaras, which are started after intervals, exhibit malign intention of the government to penetrate an environment of fear and insecurity among minorities. This is a shame that the government routinely issues condemnatory statements after these incidents without taking any practical steps against the culprits. The lack of serious efforts in arresting the terrorists and religious extremists glorifying such killings further show that the government is covertly supporting them.

The leaders of the banned terrorist organisation, ie., Ahle Sunnat Wal Jama’at (ASWJ) are sharing and enjoying the full support of the government and its security agencies as their inflammatory press statements provide breeding grounds for such inhumane attacks on minorities including Hazaras.

Khurram Zaki’s Killing Strengthens Extremism and Intolerance In Pakistan

Khurram Zaki (File Picture)

Khurram Zaki (File Picture)

The cold-blooded assassination of Khurram Zaki, a civil society activist and human rights defender, unequivocally defies all narratives adopted for eradication of religious extremism and terrorism in Pakistan. Despite receiving life threats from religious extremists, the Federal and Provincial Governments’ failure in providing him security further exposes the intention of the government in taking decisive action against perpetrators. Understandably, Khurram Zaki’s years’ long struggle against all forms of discrimination, religious hatred, bigotry, intolerance and schism in the name of factional and communal differences; represented the views and support of the mainstream Pakistani society. Silencing human rights defenders in the country endorses covert support to the religious extremists and terrorists.

Khurram's dead body during a protest.

Khurram’s dead body during a protest.

The government’s half-hearted response in ridding the country of religious extremism, intolerance and terrorism is a shame. Such cold response shall only consolidate its dismal human rights record. The government has completely failed to prosecute the convicted terrorists who are successfully running their terrorist activities from within prisons in Pakistan. Similarly, the release of leaders of banned terrorists organisations from prisons have further deteriorated the security situation.

After the bomb explosion in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park in Lahore on 28th March this year, it was expected that a full-scale operation against religious extremists would be launched in southern Punjab but, unfortunately, this operation was diverted towards the so-called dacoits. In essence, the operation ended with no fruition at all. The federal and Punjab governments’ unwillingness in starting operation clean-up against religious extremists in southern Punjab, approves their official support for the latter. Hence, the emboldened terrorist activities of religious extremists have plagued the rest of the country resulting in the loss of thousands of innocent lives.

The Pakistani government should stop its exploitative tactics which will further enhance the feeling of deprivation among other citizens and start a full-scale Punjab-wide operation against religious extremists, their sympathizers and supporters.

Lahore Bomb Explosion Laments Partial Implementation of the National Action Plan

A Grieving Man at the site of Lahore Explosion (Dunya TV)

A Grieving Man at the site of Lahore Explosion (Dunya TV)

Yesterday’s cowardly attack in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park, Lahore grieves partial implementation of the National Action Plan, which should have helped eradicate terrorist organisations and its splinter groups, if the Federal Government had implemented it indifferently. The NAP’s 20-point agenda required the government to register and regulate the seminaries (madrassas) which has completely remained beyond its reach and domain. Similarly, protection of minorities was pledged and eradication of terrorists’ hideouts in Punjab was vowed, nonetheless, they could not be promulgated.

Unfortunately, banned terrorist and religious extremist organisations are still using internet and social media websites to spread hatred and intolerance and commit allegiance to international terrorist organisations such as Daesh, however, the government deliberately overlooks these sensitive issues in that their supporters and protectors are sitting in the parliament.

Injured woman of Lahore Explosion (Guardian.com)

Injured woman of Lahore Explosion (Guardian.com)

Terrorist organisations and their affiliates claim responsibility of such attacks but the crackdown on perpetrators seem a distant reality. Yesterday’s attack was specifically on Christian minority to turn joys of Easter into a bloodbath which killed over 70 innocent people including women and children. This attack cannot be viewed as sheer coincidence with yesterday’s protest in Islamabad, where thousands of religious fanatics entered Red Zone area on the occasion of Chehlum of Mumtaz Qadri – an executed police official assassinating then Punjab Governor, Salman Taseer.

While HUM condoles with the families of victims of Lahore’s tragic terrorist attack, it demands the Federal Government for taking concrete steps in eliminating terrorists and religious extremists from the country.

Pakistan Should Prosecute Religious Extremists Involved in Killings of Minorities

File Picture

With arrest of RAW’s undercover agent from Balochistan, whose preliminary investigation has revealed his collaboration with religious extremists for subversive activities in Balochistan, the Pakistani Government must initiate a broader investigation to ascertain the involvement of religious extremists, their in-country patrons and financiers and prosecute them under anti-terrorism laws.

In particular, the banned religious extremist organisation such as Ahle Sunnat Wal Jama’at (ASWJ), its sympathizers, supporters and leaders have been spreading religious intolerance, extremism, communal hatred and terrorism across the country whose large-scale terrorist activities chronicles rigorous financial support from  Saudi Arabia and India, therefore, the Federal Government should arrest its leaders and try them in military courts.

Moreover, the arrest of RAW’s intelligence agent from Balochistan shall not exonerate the Government of its constitutional obligations in providing fool-proof security to its citizens, especially the minority communities of the country.

Documentary Highlights Intolerance and Hope For Pakistan

Never Forget, Londonbranch of a Pakistani non-governmental organisation, hosted an important event at SOAS, Vernon Square, London on 23-02-2016 to screen the recently-prepared documentary of Minority Rights Group InternationalThe purpose of organising the event was to showcase religious hatred, bigotry and intolerance which was initially aimed at minorities but this menace has not tilted towards mainstream Pakistani society. The documentary started with interviews of the heirs of Hazara victims becoming targets in various targeted attacks in Quetta, then, it slowly moves to inter-marriages of Shias and Sunnis and the extent of problems they face being family units of different sects. The documentary also captured glimpses of Sufism and ending with constructive notes from interviewees of all faiths about the future of the country.

Screenshot of the Documentary (Photo Courtesy: Never Forget, London)

Screenshot of the Documentary (Photo Courtesy: Never Forget, London)

Ali Raza of Never Forget, London hosted the event who briefly introduced the salient points.

Ali Raza Hosting the Event

Ali Raza Hosting the Event

Liaquat Ali Hazara was requested to give introduction about the Pakistani Hazaras. After thanking the host and the other organisers of the show, he highlighted about the Hazaras’ history and how they are living in modern-day Pakistan. His introductory session consisted of three sections, ie., (i) the migration of Hazaras to then sub-continent, (ii) current challenges and (iii) Expectations of Hazaras from HR Organisations and International Community.

LAH

LAH

Later, Carl Soderbergh, Director of Policy and Communications at the Minority Rights Group International and Emma Eastwood, Senior Media Officer of the same organisation were invited to share their views. Carl Soderbergh mentioned about the brief history of MRG and HR activities across the globe while Emma Eastwood talked about their firm resolve in protecting rights of minorities and liaising with respective governments in respect of human rights violations.

Carl Soderbergh (Director Policy and Communication, MRG)

Carl Soderbergh (Director Policy and Communication, MRG)

Emma Eastwood (Senior Media Officer, MRG)

Emma Eastwood (Senior Media Officer, MRG)

The last part of the show consisted of interactive debate and feedback on the rights of minorities.

Rights Activists at SOAS

Rights Activists at SOAS

Geo and Jang Newspaper covered the event. For viewing the documentary and video coverage of the event, please visit our facebook page.

Jang Coverage of the Event

Jang Coverage of the Event

(Photos Courtesy: Never Forget London)