Imran Khan’s shrill Kashmir pitch gets hit by blowback from Pak minorities
Qambar Malik, a Baloch activist and writer, told the UN human rights body about Pakistan’s efforts to use Islamic radicalisation in Balochistan to counter the Baloch national struggle for self-determination.Updated: Sep 16, 2019 22:17 IST
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s particularly belligerent stand against India after the surprise move to scrap Jammu and Kashmir’s special status has provoked a sharp comeback from leaders of its minority communities, who have accused Islamabad of “double standards”.
Many representatives of Baloch, Sindhi, and Kashmiri communities have been camping in Geneva to launch a counterstrike at Pakistan in a desperate effort to draw international attention to their plight at the UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva and outside.
Qambar Malik, a Baloch activist and writer, told the UN human rights body about Pakistan’s efforts to use Islamic radicalisation in Balochistan to counter the Baloch national struggle for self-determination.
“These go together with the enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killing of Baloch nationalists by the security forces,” Malik told a session at the UNHCR, according to news agency ANI.
Watch: Pakistan exposed at UNHRC over treatment of minorities
Pakistan, he said, routinely compromised the lives and human rights of millions of people in Balochistan where the number of madrasas - that form a major source of recruits for terror groups - outstripped the number of schools.
Activists from Sindh highlighted the atrocities inflicted by the Pakistani military. Rubina Greenwood, chairperson of the World Sindhi Congress, said: “Pakistani agencies continue to use enforced disappearances of Sindhi political and human rights activists to silence the voice of Sindhi people for their political, economic and human rights.”
Outside the UNHCR session, there were others who spoke out against Pakistan’s treatment of its minorities.
“All of the victims’ bodies have shown clear signs of torture. Failure to discipline and prosecute the perpetrators has led to a culture whereby agencies can act with impunity,” she told the session.
Outside, Professor Sajjad Raja president of Jammu Kashmir National Awami Party(UK), a party that operates from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, stressed how Pakistan’s description of the territory as Azad Kashmir was wrong. “Pakistan is an occupational force,” he said at one of the many protests that have been held to coincide with the Geneva meet.
Senge Hasnan Sering, who heads the Institute of Gilgit-Baltistan Studies in Washington, said Pakistan was an occupational force and exploits the Gilgit-Baltistan area as a colony. “Those who speak against occupation are jailed and are serving life terms… The United Nations must take notice of Pakistan’s illegal presence in Pakistan occupied-Jammu Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan area.
(With inputs from agencies)
First Published: Sep 16, 2019 21:58 IST