Dr Shabir Choudhry
Peace and security is a fundamental right of every human being. It is sad to note that these fundamental rights are courageously violated by the governments and their proxies in Pakistan and Pakistani Administered Jammu and Kashmir.
Extremist groups who are acting as proxies of the establishment are working hard to radicalise the society in Pakistan and areas of Jammu and Kashmir under their control. Because of fast expansion of these extremist groups known as strategic assets of Pakistan, space for moderate and secular minded people is shrinking.
Many Pakistani writers, journalists and human rights activists claim that extremism, violence and religious intolerance is spreading under ‘supervision’ of the establishment. Radicalization is systematically planned, nurtured, expanded and exported to achieve foreign policy and strategic objectives. In this context, indoctrination of regionalism, sectarianism and religion is widely ingrained.
Blockade of Islamabad by Molana Khadim Hussain Rizvi and around 1500 of his followers last year; and inability of the government to take any effective action against them manifested that they had full support of the secret agencies and men in uniform. The civilian government was unpleasantly humiliated and made to surrender under the supervision of the army officers. The protesters were rewarded with cash payments; and what leaders of the protest received is not known.
Despite this bitter fact, Pakistani government claim that they are fighting extremism and terrorism; and expect the international community to accept their narrative. They erroneously believe that they can continue with their policy of promoting extremism, terrorism and religious intolerance under the cover of holy name of jihad. Many wise and liberal minded Pakistanis feel religious groups and establishment are the root cause of Pakistan’s many problems.
Imtiaz Gul, a Pakistani writer and political analyst, in his article, ‘FATF setback – Pakistan is a victim of its own inaction, writes:
‘And withdrawal of support at FATF must also make the civil-military elites realise that the policy of using non-state actors for foreign policy objectives (be it the lashkar, the jaish or appeasement of Haqqanis) enjoys zero tolerance among the international community… In retrospect, there is little doubt that the romance with the word K (read Kashmir) has bled Pakistan profusely. It has generated a dynamic that has become a financial noose around the country’s neck”.
Because of activities of extremist religious groups and secret agencies, practically there is very little space left for civil society and human rights activists of Pakistan, Gilgit Baltistan and Pakistani Administered Kashmir.
Asian Legal Resource Centre in writtensubmission made to the 37th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, said.
‘ALRC would like to draw the UN Human Rights Council’s attention to the rise in violence against Human Rights Defenders in Pakistan. It is unfortunate that human rights defenders, bloggers and social activists have conventionally been considered an irritant to state policies in Pakistan, and are often targeted by the state as well as non-state actors.
I am seriously concerned on continue exchange of firing between India and Pakistan on Line of Control, which kills and injured people of Jammu and Kashmir on both sides of the divide. This testing of weapons and exchange of fire had made lives of people a living hell, as there is no peace and security for them, their children and their live stocks.
It is a wrong propaganda of Pakistan and their supporters that only Indian bombs kill; and Pakistani bombs don’t kill and injure people and animals on the other side of the divide.
I strongly condemn this and demand immediate stop to this killing of innocent people. However, if armed forces of both countries want to fight and test their new weapons, they can do that on the international border. Please don’t make my homeland and battleground.
In conclusion, we have suffered since 1947 on both sides of the divide. How long more we need to suffer before we get justice and our unfettered right to determine our own future. There is no peace for us. We need security from forces of oppression, extremism, terrorism, intolerance and hatred.
I urge the UN and the international community to take urgent measures to stop suffering of the people of the former Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir.