On Human Right Day spare a thought for ethnic minorities of Pakistan
Source :NewsBharati   Date :10-Dec-2018

Unfold the blindfold and think about the atrocities faced by the people in Pakistan. Human Rights celebrated across the world, has for all these years given the people a right to live their own way and fight against injustice. But in a country like Pakistan, where people talk the language of violence and harassment, none is expected and most importantly justice is farfrom reach.

 

As the entire world connects to celebrate Human Rights Day on December 10, let us take some time to focus on the condition of Pakistan and the human rights nightmare it inherits. Well known to all, the country of Pakistan has been pursuing the policy of persecution of minorities. The militancy rule based on the fundamentalist concept of Islam has created an atmosphere of conflict and violence against the minorities in the nation. And unfortunate as it is, the conflict is marked with that of attacks at religious places, summary execution, kidnapping, extortion, forced marriages etc.

Pakistan has every now and them seeming deliberate to show their unwanted unnoticed power has given instances of how brutally they can lower their esteem. The duplicity and brutality of Pakistan became visible a decade back during the siege of the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) in July, 2007. The then dictator of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf, conducted a military operation with the so-called objective to liberate the Mosque from the stranglehold of militants. What he conveniently brushed under the carpet the fact that the Pakistani deep state had, for long, been supporting the two brothers, Abdul Aziz and Abdul Rashid, who ran the Masjid.

The need to attack the Mosque emerged from his requirement to get on the right side of the US from where he was facing heat to act against the burgeoning population of militant warlords. The eight day siege led to the death of more than 150 civilians, mostly, innocent students. Several score students, both male and female, were arrested and their fate is not known.

Ever since, Pakistan has not seen a letdown in violence against minorities and innocents, despite the switch over of governance from dictatorship to a democracy. It is so because the Army continues to call the shots! In doing so, it has not conceded upon its policy to go soft on fundamentalist militant organisations that it considers to be its strategic assets.

The impotence of the Pakistan’s so-called democratic government in the face of fundamentalist dominance came to the fore recently in the case of the Christian lady, Asia Bibi. Asia Bibi has been interned in Death Row since 2009 under the draconian Blasphemy Law of the country. It is to the credit of the Supreme Court of Pakistan that it reversed the death sentence served to her by the lower courts.

Witnessing the raging outcome of the militants after the verdict on the events created an outrage among the militants which led to destroying the properties and resorting to vandalism. The militants openly harassed and threatened Asia Bibi and her family; her lawyer was forced to flee the country, the Christian community was left trembling for fear of physical violence. The rabid leadership of the fundamentalists went to the extent of instigating people to murder the Judges who have rendered the judgement.

This riots therefore forced Prime Minister Imran Khan to address the nation. In his address, the Prime Minister spent more time in establishing his Islamic credentials than to warn the errant law breakers. He was hailed as an epithet of courage for having upheld the law of the land.

Imran Khan’s persona of courage, however, fell flat when he promised that Asia Bibi and her family would not be allowed to leave the country and the Government would not block a review petition of the verdict. This act of capitulation by the prime minister irretrievably damaged whatever little trust that existed between the Pakistani state and the minorities of the country.

Well, the act of persecution is not restricted just on the Christian minorities alone. In the year 1947, there was a sect of Ahmadiya’s who were declared as non muslims and were deprived through the Anti-Ahmadiya Ordinance in 1984. Adding to their atrocities, this community is not given equitable job, have been imposed by severe restriction on entry in professional institution hampering their right to education. Restrictions have been imposed on the production of Ahmadiya literature. Sections 298-B and 298-C of the Pakistan Panel Code debars Ahmadiyas from calling their place of worship a Masjid, there have been instances where the police has torn down minarets of an Ahmadiya place of worship because they resembled a Mosque.

Moreover, the Shia Muslims living across Pakistan and especially those in the occupied areas of Gilgit Baltistan have been massacred and bombed in religious places. They have been deprived of basic rights and liberties, freedom of speech etc. Even the media, the journalist face prosecution for speaking against the government and many local publications have also been banned. The law enforcement have been given powers to suppress people.

Stooping down to ground level, the authorities have been given the power to use their rights in whatever way possible. They can detain anyone without due process of law, engage in electronic surveillance, conduct search and seizures, and use military force wherever deemed necessary. Local leaders are facing terrorism charges.

Innocent people there are being framed under Schedule 4 of the Anti-terrorist Act even as actual terrorists create mayhem. Pakistan is home to about six lakh Shiite Hazara Muslims mainly in Quetta, Balochistan. This hapless community is being specifically targeted by terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Sipah-e-Sabah.

At the time of partition, Pakistan had 11-12% of Hindu and Sikh population. When considered in terms of the existing population levels of the country, the present strength of the Hindu and Sikh community should be around one 10.5 Million. Hindus of Sindh Province have been divided into the high caste and schedule caste categories in order to marginalise their strength as a political entity. An attempt is being made to change the demographic pattern by settlement of Punjabis in the Province.

Pakistan is determined to exist as an Islamic State comprising only of Sunni Muslims. The unwritten policy to attain this objective is to exterminate the minorities through terror attacks and pogroms or convert them or force them to migrate, mainly towards India. The government and other institutions make the right noises about protection of minority rights that helps keep international scrutiny at bay, but, on ground, there is a conspiracy to finish them in totality. Pakistan has been carrying out the most insidious ethnic cleansing over the last six decades right under the eyes of the world.