Saturday, 22 March 2014

Human Rights situation in Pakistan and Kashmir, speech of Dr Shabir Choudhry in Geneva during 25th Session of the UN Human Rights session 18 March 2014

Human Rights situation in Pakistan and Kashmir, speech of Dr Shabir Choudhry in Geneva during 25th Session of the UN Human Rights session 18 March 2014

It is true that Pakistan is and has been a victim of terrorism for some years, and tens of thousands of innocent people have lost their lives because of the terrorist related activities. I feel sad on this loss of life and destruction; but it is also true that the Pakistani establishment nourished, promoted and exported terrorism. Their policy of promoting jihad and religious hatred in to other countries has come to haunt them.

Current situation in Pakistan is such that no one feels safe. Even the most powerful and rich people do not step outside their homes without a bullet proof vehicles and appropriate security arrangements. Muslims and non - Muslims, civilians and men in uniform are all targets of someone. There is someone looking for them either to kill or harass them.

In this kind of environment weak and members of the ethnic minorities are easy targets. Killers and mercenaries can get away even after killing innocent people. Extremists in hundreds attack a prison; and without much difficulty break in, stay there for some time and go away with hundreds of prisoners. They travel with their Lorries and jeeps and no one challenge them or make an effort to arrest them.

Hindu population has now declined to about 1.7 per cent; whereas at the time of creation of Pakistan it was much higher. It is decreasing as families seek immigration to India. According a former legislator and chairman of the Pakistan Hindu Council, Ramesh Kumar Vankwani said, “Abduction, rapes and coerced conversion of our daughters, extortion, blackmailing and kidnapping of businessmen for ransom are some of the reasons why they were leaving Pakistan.”

Islam says Respect and honour all human beings irrespective of their religion, color, race, sex, language, status, property, birth, profession/job and so on [17/70]

Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy, a Professor at the Qaaid e Azam University in Pakistan, wrote an article called ‘RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION IN PAKISTAN’, which was published on 13 March 2014 said and I quote:

 ‘Pakistani Christians have a still tougher time. In March 2012 over 100 homes owned by Pakistani Christians, as well as two small churches, were set ablaze by thousands of angry Muslims in Lahore. Sanitary worker and Christian, Sawan Masih, was accused of blasphemous remarks in the course of an argument with a Muslim friend. In 2009, a 20,000 strong mob, fired with the notion that some Christian man had destroyed a page of the Quran, burned down 50 Christian homes in the town of Gojra. The village of Shantinagar had been similarly destroyed in 1997....In September 2013, the double suicide bombings at a Sunday mass at the century-old All Saints Church in Peshawar, left nearly 90 worshippers dead’. Unquote

Shia Muslims and Ahmadis were very enthusiastic about creation of Pakistan, and fully supported the Pakistan movement. Even Shia Muslims had no problem in supporting other Muslims when Mr Bhutto in1974 declared Ahmadis as non-Muslim. However, Shia Community is at the receiving end now as voices from the extremists who demand that Shias should also be declared kafirs - non Muslims; and Pakistan should be declared as a Sunni state.

In 2012, four buses which were going from Rawalpindi to Gilgit were stopped by men with guns who demanded to examine national identification cards of passengers. Those with typical Shia names, like Abbas and Jafri, were separated, and 46 people were shot dead on the spot. The massacres of Hazara Shias in Mastung and in other places made headlines in national and international media.

Situation of Ahmedis is even worse. In one case, where news reached to extremists that Nadia Hanif, a 17-year-old school teacher who had died of illness was actually an Ahmadi but buried in a Muslim graveyard in Chanda Singh village, Kasur. Her grave was promptly dug up, and the body removed for reburial. Source
US report criticises Pakistan’s abuse of blasphemy laws, published today on 18 March 2014 strongly criticise Pakistan’s record on human rights, and especially issues related to the dubious blasphemy law. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom, reported that Pakistan currently has 14 individuals known to be on death row while 19 others are serving life sentences on charges of committing blasphemy.
45 years old Aasia Bibi, a mother of five children was accused of insulting the prophet Muhammad. Later reports confirmed that she was falsely accused to settle some old score, but she is in prison since 19 June 2009, as her appeal has not been heard. Sameena Imtiaz, founder of Islamabad-based Peace Education Development Foundation (PEAD) says the commission’s findings are another “reminder of the religious intolerance that has permeated the society at large”. 
The original blasphemy law, drawn up by the British and amended in 1986 by then-dictator General Zia-ul-Haq, puts in place a mandatory death sentence under section 295-C. Sameena Imtiaz says since the amendment more than a 1,000 cases have been registered against Ahmadis, Christians, Hindus and even Muslims. In many cases that investigations have revealed that often the reasons for the abuse allegations are made because of personal enmity, property disputes and religious hatred.
In its State of Human Rights in 2012 report, the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan states: “Abuse of the blasphemy law continues to take a heavy toll in terms of human lives and harassment of citizens.” Source
Pakistan No School for 25 million children
Out of all the countries in the world, Nigeria has the highest number of out-of-school children, and Pakistan is second, with 25 million out-of-school.
Gender discrimination in the Pakistani educational system is alarming. In primary school ratio of boys and girls is 10:4. Regional disparities are also alarming. The literacy rate in FATA is 29 percent for males and three percent for females.
What's alarming is that
·         55,000 primary schools have no drinking water (40 percent of the total). 
·         55,000 primary schools have no toilet facilities. 
·         More than 82,000 primary schools have no electricity (60 percent of the total). 
·         55,000 primary schools have no boundary walls.
·          One in ten children in the world who are not in primary schools lives in Pakistan.
·         26 countries are poorer than Pakistan but send more children to schools.
·         Only one in three Pakistani women in rural areas can read. 
·         Only 50 percent of Pakistani school children can read a sentence.
·         Pakistan’s chances of achieving MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) stand at zero percent (Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India are on track to achieving MDGs). 
·         Sindh Province of Pakistan will achieve MDGs in 2049; Punjab in 2041; Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2064 and Balochistan in 2100.  
·         Only 47 percent of Pakistani children in Class-V can read simple Class-II stories in Urdu. 
·         Only 37 percent of Pakistani children in Class-V can do three-digit division. Imagine; 
·         73 percent of Class-III and 39 percent of Class-V students cannot read Class-III English sentences.
·         Pakistan’s education sector is thoroughly politicised. 
·         And the most alarming fact of them all is that all of this is self inflicted. There is neither a Jewish nor a Hindu conspiracy behind it.
·         Teacher absenteeism is alarming. 
·         The phenomenon of ghost teachers is alarming. 
·         The phenomenon of ghost schools is alarming. 
·         Imagine: a survey done a few years ago found that on an average day 10 percent of teachers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 25 percent in Punjab are absent (apparently, teacher absenteeism in Punjab has now been brought down).
·         Remember, Pakistan promised in front of the world to achieve all that by 2015.
·         The way out of this darkness is no rocket science; just two Ds can go a long way – decentralisation and de-politicisation of all decision-making within the education sector. No more politics on education, please.
·         “Education is a matter of life or death for Pakistan. The world is progressing so rapidly that without the requisite advance in education, not only shall we be left behind others but we may be wiped out altogether” Quaid-e-Azam, the founder of Pakistan. 
Source: Dr Farrukh Saleem, 23 February 2014

As has been reiterated time and again, that we are not against State of Pakistan or against the people of Pakistan; however, we have every right to criticise wrong policies of Pakistan which directly or indirectly affects our lives and future of our beloved country Jammu and Kashmir which has been forcibly divided by India and Pakistan.

We strongly believe that due to wrong policies of Pakistan we people of former Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir have suffered immensely; and our struggle for unfettered right of self-determination and united and independent Kashmir has been very seriously damaged by the wrong policies of Pakistan, which in practise has made Kashmir a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan.

What surprises me most is that with this kind of record on human rights, Pakistani rulers and their establishment still urge us that we should join Pakistan. Before taking any decision with regard to our future, we people of forcibly divided State of Kashmir have to see what is there for us and our future generations.

Pakistani governments have failed to protect life and property of those who are their citizens; what can they offer to us. When we see that Pakistani people suffer because of wrong policies of Pakistan, it hurts us; but at the same time we say we are not fools to join Pakistan.

Situation on the Indian side of the divide is not any better, as India also failed to fulfil promises assumed under the UNCIP Resolutions and the Provisional accession. People of the State of Jammu and Kashmir are suffering on both side of the divide and those who rule us claim that they are our well wishers and friends. We know those who occupy us cannot be friends, as their agenda is different to us. We want to have united and independent Jammu and Kashmir where we can establish a society based on democratic and secular ideals.

No comments: