Proof that Pakistanis are World’s Greatest Human Rights Defenders

Shireen Mazari Human Rights Defender

Once again, international human rights NGOs, media, and even the UN have Pakistan in their sights. As usual, we are accused of ignoring human rights violations. How can this even be possible? As I will now prove to you, Pakistanis are not human rights violators, actually we are the world’s greatest human rights defenders!

Liberals note the abuse of blasphemy laws for land grabbing from religious minorities in Pakistan, but does this mean that we don’t care about minority land rights? No! Many Pakistanis take out massive rallies against land grabbing by Israel.

International media prints reports about an epidemic of violence against women in Pakistan, including cases of rape going unpunished. However, ask any Pakistani man and he will tell you in deep forensic detail about rapes and other abuses faced by women in India.

Human Rights NGOs spread stories about Pakistan security agencies killing unarmed youths and murdering journalists, but does that mean we are ignoring abuses of security agencies? Absolutely not! Obviously these NGOs are the ones ignoring the outcry in our own media against abuses by security agencies in America.

Now once again the UN is pointing fingers at Pakistan over the mysterious disappearance of activists, just like they have pointed fingers over missing persons in Balochistan.  Liberals are pointing at social media trends like #WhoAreTheyDefending and #MissingOrRAWterrorists to say that we don’t care about enforced disappearances. Not true! We have been leading all efforts to raise awareness about enforced disappearances in Kashmir.

It is clear that all accusations are part of a world wide conspiracy to defame Pakistan. The proof is clear to anyone willing to admit facts. Pakistanis are the world’s greatest human rights defenders…for everyone except Pakistanis.

Another case against MQM falls apart

The script is a familiar one by now. LEAs carry out a major raid. Media broadcasts images of political workers being loaded into the back of trucks. Weapons are displayed in photographs while anchors offer grave warnings about foreign agents destabilising the country. The report makes a strong impression, but do we ever ask what happens to these stories? Over and over again we are seeing them fall apart.

In October, three MQM workers arrested and accused of being RAW agents were quietly acquitted by the ATC who noted that prosecutors were totally unable to establish cases against the accused. Then we saw Scotland Yard drop cases against Altaf Hussain himself due to absence of evidence.

Now another major case has fallen apart before our eyes. Just a few weeks ago media was reporting that a major terror bid was thwarted by a raid on a political party in Karachi with RAW links (no extra points for guessing who they meant) that uncovered a massive weapons cache. One month later, however, police themselves were asking the court to suspend the investigation due to lack of evidence.

The plea was submitted by an investigation officer in Karachi’s anti-terrorism court on Tuesday, the plea also requested the court to categorise the case as ‘A-Class’ as police officials failed to produce and submit any substantial evidence.

“Police officials failed to produce and submit any substantial evidence.” It’s the same story over and over again. What’s not known is whether any of these cases were manufactured dramas to chip away at the reputation of MQM. Whatever the truth is, it is certain that these cases have chipped away at the reputation of law enforcement agencies and made them appear to be on a political witch hunt against a particular political party.

 

Time for a new strategy in Karachi

MQM

After the high profile raids, the media circus, the declarations from the highest corridors of power, the charges fell flat. Over the weekend an Anti-Terrorism Court acquitted Tahir, alias Lamba, Junaid Khan and Imtiaz, all MQM workers who were accused of being RAW agents and charged with having explosives and illicit weapons.

The court ruled that the prosecution remained totally unable to establish the cases against the accused persons beyond any shadow of the doubt.

This is only the latest failure in the state’s efforts to destroy MQM. Just a few days ago, Scotland Yard announced that it had dropped money laundering investigations against Altaf Hussain due to lack of evidence.

I can understand the state’s frustration. After accusing of treason, mass arrests, demolishing offices, and even admitted torture, MQM simply will not go away. MQM continues to be elected and the state continues to have to mobilise Rangers to prevent MQM rallies.

It is clear that despite the best efforts of some, MQM continues to enjoy support among a large part of Karachi. This raises the question, instead of trying to squeeze people into submission, why don’t we think of how to take them into confidence? Instead of dividing ourselves against each other, shouldn’t we be trying to unite? I am not saying that MQM is an innocent lamb, but I am saying that they are our brothers and when your brother is feeling estranged isn’t it better to invite him home and listen to his troubles?

Karachi is integral part of Pakistan, and mohajirs are integral part of our life’s blood. We need to heal our nation, not divide it further. We need to embrace our brothers, not suffocate them.

Kashmir uprising a distraction from local atrocities?

wani-beesThe latest Kashmir uprising has united Pakistan unlike anything before. Whole nation has come together and is ready to sacrifice for the liberation of Kashmir from Indian oppression. Even APS massacre was not able to keep the nation united like Indian abuses in Kashmir has. In his speech at the UN, PM Nawaz Sharif noted the abuses being faced by Kashmiri people and even offered to provide a dossier documenting these brutalities. Kashmir has been the top news story for months, and social media has become filled with Burhan Wannabees. But there is another place where Muslims are being abused and even killed in much larger numbers, so why nobody is rising up to defend them?

Human Rights Watch has released a new report documenting that thousands of Pakistanis are being murdered by police in fake encounters. Such atrocities come as a surprise only because our media does not celebrate them like atrocities in Kashmir. However, if Burhan Wani being killed by Indian security forces makes him a martyr for Kashmir, how can we not give the same title to Pakistanis illegally killed by Pakistani security forces? Social media is filled with Burhan Wannabees, but no one is seen wearing a mask of Aftab Ahmed who was tortured to death by Pakistan Rangers.

Kashmiri people are facing horrible abuses by Indian security forces, and we have declared that we will even gladly die in a nuclear war to free them, but we will do not even notice when our own fellow citizens are facing the same abuses and even worse? I am not saying that social media’s keyboard commandoes should be rallying behind a ‘Karachi Intifada’, but I am saying that we should stop to think why are so passionate about abuses somewhere else and so dispassionate about the same, and even worse abuses at home.

Taking Refuge in Words and #Hashtags

see-no-evil-hear-no-evil-speak-no-evil

The latest MQM fiasco has mostly focused on the issues of law and order. Rangers raided and sealed 90 after MQM activists carried out attacks against media houses in Karachi – an inexcusable action by anyone but especially by a democratic political party, though sadly not an unusual one. PTI workers have been known to attack media workers include female reporters and PMLN workers have also indulged in attacking journalists. Any attacks on media are condemnable and attackers must be punished accordingly. However it is the underlying issue behind all of these attacks that requires our immediate attention.

Continue reading