Pashtuns Turn Heat On Pakistan; Seek Release of Manzoor

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Pakistan’s powerful Pashtun community took their grievances to Geneva to seek justice from the army controlled Imran Khan government. Tortured Pashtuns pour their heart out before United Nations by displaying a Pavilion at Broken Chair Geneva …. A special report by Kaliph Anaz from Geneva

Asian Lite Daily Digital – March 04

Pashtuns living in Pakistan have been facing the violence by the Pakistan establishment. They have been mistreated, tortured, discriminated, and intimidated by the Pakistan Army. Human rights activists from Pashtun community have highlighted the atrocities done by the Pakistani military establishment with a pavilion displaying Stop Pashtun Torture at Broken Chair Geneva.

The Pashtuns, an ethnic group of Pakistan living in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), have been exposed to brutal practices of the Pakistani Army. They have killed thousands of civilians, destroyed villages, arbitrarily detained and tortured innocent people labelling them as terrorists with the approval of the Pakistani Government.

It is a well-known fact that the Prime Minister Imran Khan is supporting the activities of the Pakistani military. The government has conducted arrests against the journalists and human rights activists. The leading figure of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), their leader  Manzoor Pashteen is one of the victims who was arrested by the Pakistan police on 27th January 2020 after his critiques against the Pakistan Army. But the government justified the detention and argued it is for ‘disturbing political order in the country’.

The extermination efforts of Pakistan against the Pashtuns are still going on. The number of deaths and missing persons are rising every day. Pakistani Government is not only committing human rights violation but crime against humanity on Pashtuns. If the UN does not take an immediate action to stop this genocide, the Pashtuns will be annihilated by Islamabad’s harsh policies towards them. The big Pavilion or tent set up in front of the UN Office of Geneva during 43rd Human Rights Council at Broken Chair calls for urgent attention to the Pashtun persecution in Pakistan and urges the international community to help them and make Pakistan stop this genocide.

Release Manzoor

The activists in Geneva appeal to the international community to intervene in the detention of their leader Manzoor Pashteen. Manzoor is detained without trial by the authorities on Monday, 27 January, from Shaheen Town area of Peshawar.

The case against Mr Pashteen is that he had attended a gathering on 18 January at Dera Ismail Khan and told a receptive audience that the Constitution of Pakistan violated basic human rights. The First Information Report – complaint lodged with the Police – added that Pashteen also made derogatory remarks about the State.  So, the charges ranged from sedition to criminal conspiracy, and criminal intimidation to promoting enmity between different groups. Also invoked was Sections 123 –A of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) that makes “condemning the creation of the country and advocating the abolishment of its sovereignty” a punishable offence. Whether he indulged in such a talk is for the courts to decide.

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, (HRCP) was upset with the Police action, which in essence is a follow-up on the Army’s whim. It termed the sedition charge against Manzoor as arbitrary and as an attempt to curb political dissent.

The extermination efforts of Pakistan against the Pashtuns are still going on. The number of deaths and missing persons are rising every day. Pakistani Government is not only committing human rights violation but crime against humanity on Pashtuns

The PTM says the Pashtuns have been manipulated in the past in the name of religion. Their area, the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), a legacy of the British era, was used to recruit fighters for fighting the Soviet-backed regime in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

The PTM is a human rights body formed in 2014. But it is being meted out the same treatment as the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Taliban (PTT) that was formed in 2007 to overthrow the Pakistani State, and the consequent imposition of Sharia rule.

Pak government has been suppressing PTM for long and arrests its activists quite often on some fraudulent charges.  Hundreds of their activists have gone missing for demanding Pashtun rights.  Lastly, Alamgir Wazir (nephew of Ali Wazir, MNA) is missing for past two months, and could have attained the same fate as other PTM activists for raising voice for Pashtuns and ill treatment by state authorities.

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Pashtun Leader Mustafa Pashtun addresses the gathering

Following a prolonged campaign by then Army Chief, Gen, Raheel Sharif, the PTT was weakened. However, the PTM leaders say that the Army continues to nurture assorted groups in the region to cause trouble in neighbouring Afghanistan and to suppress secular Pashtuns who want to keep their activity away from religion-driven politics.

Writing in Dawn newspaper, Nadeem F. Paracha states that areas of FATA in particular, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in general, “were unceasingly impacted by the tumultuous fallout of the anti-Soviet insurgency in neighbouring Afghanistan in the 1980s. The insurgency, bankrolled by the US and Saudi Arabia and directly facilitated by Pakistan, was promoted as a ‘jihad’.

According to Paracha, “PTM is, in fact, a contemporary version of classical Pashtun nationalism. This nationalism was overshadowed by the rise of political Islam and then militancy among various Pashtun tribes during the anti-Soviet insurgency in Afghanistan.”

“PTM claims that ‘state-backed’ religious militancy was used to neutralise Pashtun nationalism and replace it with a narrative that explained this nationalism in the context of Islam. This, PTM believes, diverted the core intent of Pashtun nationalism (i.e., gaining Pashtun rights), and made it to mean a way to strive for an Islamic state, or something the state during the Gen Zia dictatorship too was claiming to formulate.”

“Although still opposed to the classical idea of Pashtun nationalism, the state is now equally opposed to the militant religious dimension that was added to it from the 1980s onwards.”

This explains the continuing suppression of the Pashtuns by the State that wants to ‘manipulate’ the poor tribals for its nefarious designs.

 

 

 

 

 

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