Pakistan cannot hide its HR abuses


Harsha Kakar
Pakistan had always accused India of violating Human Rights in Kashmir. It screamed in every international forum on India’s actions at eliminating terrorists, claiming them to be innocent civilians and sought UN intervention. Firing on stone throwers was termed as brutal actions. On occasions it demanded visits by the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) to the valley and POK. Their prime and foreign ministers have termed Burhan Wani as a leader and an innocent youth. India has either ignored, rejected or challenged Pak claims.
In June last year, towards the termination of the tenure of ZeidRa’ad Al Hussein, a Jordanian, as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Pak pushed forth a report in June last year, based on fake news, accusing India of violating HR in the valley. The report stated, ‘It is a conflict that has robbed millions of their basic human rights and continues to this day to inflict untold suffering.’ It added, ‘It is also why I will be urging the UN Human Rights Council to consider establishing a commission of inquiry to conduct a comprehensive independent international investigation into allegations of human rights violations in Kashmir.’ The report was based on media inputs only.
In another case the UNHRC raised issues of 76 cases pertaining to the post 1990 period. This was sent by a letter to the Indian government in Mar this year. It also referred to the report issued by ZeidRa’ad Al Hussein. India rejected this report and refused further engagement on the subject. Pak as expected exploited these instances.Pakistan had never thought that its own actions, which it sought to hide by denying access to the media along its western provinces, would soon blow into an international scandal. It had banned media entry into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Waziristan and no media could report against army atrocities.
However, the truth could never stay hidden for long. The office of the UNHRC issued a letter to Pak’s foreign minister with a copy to Shireen Mazari, the Minister for Human Rights, on 04 June this year.The letter was signed by Georgette Gagnon, Officer-in-charge of the office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights.The letter commenced by expressing ‘deep concern regarding recent threats and attacks against human rights defenders associated with the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) and the violence in encounters between security services and members of the PTM’.The letter stated the concern of the UNHRC on the issue of arrest warrants against Ms Gulalai Ismail and Ms Sanna Ejaz, both human rights activists. It is worried that they may be eliminated, a common phenomenon for human rights activists in Pak.The letter mentions, what most of the world believes, ‘We understand that the PTM is a non-violent advocacy effort started by young Pashtuns following extra-judicial killings and are asking for ending of military check posts, clearance of landmines and accountability in enforced disappearances.’ It adds that PM Imran Khan had expressed his support for the PTM members.
It also states, ‘for many years various UN Human Rights mechanisms had urged your government to take concerted action to address the widespread phenomenon of enforced and involuntary disappearances.’ The final sentence is interesting. It states, ‘Likewise we believe that the demands of the PTM warrant attention.’
The Pak government has neither acknowledged this letter in public domain nor has it released the same to its press. Even if the press gets wind of it, the ISI would never permit the same to be printed.
Simultaneously, there is a video doing rounds in social media that the arrested leader of the PTM, MoshinDawar, had stated that in a television interview that a list of over 5000 Pashtuns missing since the army crackdown have been given to the army. Of them only 300 were returned. Post this an additional 500 names were added.
Neither the army nor the government is willing to discuss these cases. Such brutality has never existed anywhere on earth. Everyday tortured and brutally killed Pashtun bodies are located.daily Excelsior