Pakistan losing diplomatic support as it continues to export terror and violate human rights
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan recently faced acute protest in Davos when he had gone to participate in the World Economic Forum summit. The protestors demonstrated against the atrocities by Pakistan forces on the people of Baluchistan and Sindh provinces. Pakistan which had launched a military operation and forcibly annexed Baluchistan in 1947, has been at the forefront of fundamental human rights violation with restricted phone services and internet access in Baluchistan.
In the pretext of national security concerns, Pakistan has barred international NGOs and human rights groups from entering Baluchistan and has repressed all forms of political activism that opposes the Pakistani government's agenda. Political activists from Pakistan's Sindh and Baluchistan provinces have been red flagging human rights abuses, including forced disappearances of dissenters. According to reports, people in Baluchistan are being targeted for opposing CPEC and China. Recently, Pakistan leader Manzoor Pashteen of PTM (Pashtun Tahafuz Movement) were arrested by Pak police on Jan 26 from Peshawar under sedition charges.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan continues to deny the evident truth that his country is at the forefront in exporting terrorism in the region. PM Khan claims that there is no terrorism in Pakistan and whatever terrorism is there, it is coming from Afghanistan to Pakistan. There is a double standard on playing the victim card in their fight against terrorism on one hand and supporting terror groups targeting India and other countries on the other. The double talk is all the more visible when Imran Khan on being asked about the Uighyur Muslims persecution said that Pakistan does not comment on China and how China treats its Muslim population because China has done so much for them. Imran has shamelessly defended China while comparing the developments in Kashmir and tried to put a cover over the illegal detention of more than a million Uighyur in China.
Pakistan is no stranger to human rights violations as time and again such cases have been reported from various parts of the country. Asia Bibi @Asia Noreen case is another example of Pakistan's notoriety of human rights abuse. Asia Bibi, a Christian woman was dragged out of her house, beaten and arrested in front of an angry mob and accused of blasphemy. During the trial, Asia maintained her innocence, but was sentenced to death in 2010.
On October 31, 2018 nine years after Asia's arrest, Pakistan's Supreme Court overturned the earlier verdict, against the expectations of thousands of conservative Muslims for lack of evidence. Within hours the demonstrators took to street demanding death to Asia. Pakistan government was forced into submission as protestors blocked roads, ransacked police stations and business, schools and colleges were forcibly closed. The then Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer was assassinated in 2011 by one of his security guards Mumtaaz Qadri who was given the status of a saint and a shrine named after him. Salman was campaigning for Bibi while Minister Shahbaz Bhatti was killed in 2011 for being an outspoken critic of the blasphemy laws.
Bibi who now lives in Canada at an undisclosed location, has in a book written on her life recounted the hellish condition inside Pak prison. In the book "Enfin Libre" (finally free) published in January 29, Bibi recounts her arrest, the condition of prison -where she was kept chained and jeered at by other detainees.
Another instance of Pakistan's duplicity has been on one hand exhibiting solidarity with the people of Kashmir and on the other hand promoting terror groups on its soil. Every year on February 5, Pakistan tries to show support and unity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir, their ongoing freedom struggle and to pay homage to so called freedom fighters Kashmiri martyr's who lost their lives fighting for Kashmir's freedom. Kashmir Day was first observed in 1990 on a call given by Nawaz Sharif, who was the Opposition leader and Chief Minister of Punjab. At that time Sharif called for a nationwide strike to protest against what he claimed as the Indian occupation of Kashmir.
Since then, Kashmir Day has been observed every year on February 5 when pro-jihadist and other proscribed groups organise rally, collect funds, raise slogans against the so called Indian occupation of Kashmir. In fact, the Pakistan government openly encourages them despite international pressure to take action against such groups. Many operatives openly hold rallies and protests and give inflammatory speeches to espouse the cause of Jihad against India using February 5 as a pretext. Maulana Masood Azhar, Chief of proscribed terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) who was in May 2019 designated as a global terrorist, by United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and Hafeez Saeed, Chief of Lakskar-e-Taiba and mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai attack are seen openly taking to streets. Several militant groups use the opportunity to focus on armed jihad during their rally cutting across political and ideological lines. Groups like Difa-e-Pakistan Council, an alliance of more than 40 parties including Jamaat ud Dawa, Sipah-e-Sahiba, Harkat ul Mujahideen, PoK based United Jihad Council led by Syed Salahuddin openly collect funds on Kashmir Solidarity Day.
It is no secret that Pakistan army has been regularly deploying cadres of Pak-based terror groups along Line of Control (LoC) and International border on observation duties for targeting BSF and Indian army posts. Several terrorist groups including LeT, JeM, Al-Badr have been called for training in centres located in Muzaffarabad of Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK). Areas in PoJK have in the past too been used to engage in fidayeen training. The Balakot strike by India on the Jaish (JeM) camps in February 2019 is a demonstrative example of Pakistan's ISI symbiotic relation with the harbinger of Jihad.
The world community today sees Pakistan as a harbinger of terrorism. As a result, Pakistan increasingly finds itself at the crossroads with growing international scrutiny of its finances linked to terror funding. During the plenary meeting of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) last year, the international body expressed very serious concerns with the overall lack of progress by Pakistan to address its terror financing risks.
Pakistan is on a perilious course and the upcoming FATF meet in February will determine its credibility. There is every likelihood of Pakistan being blacklisted; something that will be devastating for Pakistan's already tattered economy.
The writer is journalist