BBC on Secret Human Rights abuses by Pakistan’s Deep State


Over the years reports by international Human Rights organizations like Amnesty and Human Rights Watch and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) have pointed to human rights abuses by the Pakistani deep state. Recently the BBC’s investigative reporting provides detailed reporting about the human rights abuses, the civilian death toll and the repression faced by locals in Pakistan’s north west.

According to BBC “militant violence since 2002 has forced more than five million people in Pakistan’s north-west to leave their homes to seek refuge either in government-run refugee camps or rented houses in peaceful areas. There are no official figures of the total death toll of this war but estimates from academics, local authorities and activists put the number of civilians, militants and security forces killed at well over 50,000.”

Further, “Local rights activists say scores of civilians have been killed in successive air campaigns and ground operations by the military. They have been collecting video and documentary evidence to back up their claims. These activists are linked to a prominent new rights campaign called the Pashtun Tahaffuz (Protection) Movement (PTM) which emerged early last year and has since been publicising alleged rights abuses in the tribal region that victims had previously been too scared to report.”

Further, “These individual stories are shocking but they are not unique. The PTM alleges that hundreds of people from the tribal areas could tell similar stories. But they remain officially unacknowledged. They are the consequences of a war Pakistan has gone to great lengths to hide from the world. This conflict on the Afghan border has for years been an information black hole.”

Finally, the report refers to how the Pakistani state is attacking the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement and its activists “when the PTM broke through this chokehold last year, its media coverage was put under a comprehensive ban. Those in the media who have not heeded the ban have faced physical threats and financial pressure. The military has openly called the PTM’s patriotic credentials into question, accusing it of links to “hostile” intelligence agencies in Afghanistan and India. And some PTM activists who were documenting cases of abuse and running the group’s social media campaign have been jailed. The treatment of the activists who are finally, after years of silence, raising the alarm on the abuses of a long and secret war suggests that those who have suffered in the conflict face an uphill battle for justice.”

The BBC report which gives details about individual cases can be read here


Author: Zahid Khan