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The weird case of Forced Disappearances in Pakistan

In a recent interview with NDTV, regarding his book “Reimagining Pakistan: Transforming a Dysfunctional Nuclear State Husain Haqqani, the exiled former Pakistan’s Ambassador to the USA, had said, ‘I consider myself to be lucky enough to be in exile’. His statement seems fully justified in the light the latest report of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), about Pakistan’s human rights record over the past one year

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As per Husain Haqqani, anyone questioning the Pakistan Government’s policies is considered a traitor and any critique as an aberration of being a loyal Pakistani. Such people are either put in jail at unknown places or they simply disappear.

HRCP’s Dismal Report on Pakistan’s Forced Disappearances

HRCP, an independent watchdog for Human Right violations, has also criticised Pakistan’s human rights record over the past year underlining that Pakistan has failed to make any progress. People, who criticise the establishment or advocate better relations with India continue to disappear in Pakistan. As per HRCP, a staggering 868 disappearances have been reported in Pakistan last year alone.

Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa’s radical message to Pakistani cadets

In this abysmal background, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, chief of Pakistan Army, suggesting for the peaceful proposition with India sound a bit strange if not completely out of the line.

His remarks which came during his speech at the passing-out parade of cadets at the Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul, however, smacks of deep-rooted hatred against India, Indian Army and ISPR’s (Inter Services Public Relations) stand on Kashmir.

His, address seemed to be the last lesson of radicalisation of the passing out cadets to renew their anti-India resolve and cement their belief on Kashmir. Is it correct to influence the young minds of fresh cadets in this way?

He talked about peaceful dialogue to solve the core issue of Kashmir with India and accused India of imposing “hybrid war” in the same breath. This exposes a hidden agenda. The reports by HRCP about frequent disappearances of people with liberal ideas and blatant misuse of the blasphemy law supports the same emotion.

Gross Human Right Violations under Religious Extremism

The rise of religious bigotry and helplessness of the government in pushing back against religious zealots fearing backlash, remains the main reason for increased incidents of atrocities against the minorities. The people’s right to socio-economic activities is also curtailed by intolerance and extremism.

Attacks, on Shias, Christians and even Ahmedis, falsely accused of blasphemy, have become a common feature. Worst is the Christian community who are being targeted regularly.

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Latest being the shootout at Quetta, in Baluchistan, where two people were killed and six were injured outside a church.

What is surprising is that radical organisations (who are believed to be supported by Pakistani Army on the pretext of mainstreaming) continue to resist laws aimed at –

  • Curbing violence against women
  • Giving greater rights to women
  • Removing legal restrictions on social exchanges between sexes.

Disappearing Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion in Pakistan

As per the HRCP report, freedom of thought, conscience, and religion continues to be stifled in Pakistan. Incitement to hatred and bigotry have increased; and tolerance has further receded. Shackles on activists, journalists, and bloggers against reporting against the ills of the country have been the worst. Many of them have fled their own country and are living in exile like Hussain Haqqani, Raja Rumi, and Ahmad Waqass Goraya. The role of Pakistani Army backed ISI in these activities have been established time and again. Even activist like Raza Mehmood Khan, who worked with innocent schoolchildren on both sides of the border; to foster better relations; was not spared for criticising the religious extremism.

Apropos the Army Chief’s remark; the Pakistani Army’s total rejection of the existence of extremism and terrorism in Pakistan and their commitment towards making the country a safe, prosperous and progressive nation; draws a big question mark.

17 April 2018/Tuesday                                                                         Written By Azad Azraq

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