Karachi, Balochistan, KP, Gilgit-Baltistan are all facing state-sponsored atrocities Resolution
to Karachi’ s long-standing problems is no less important
Media Cell, Washington DC, 25th August 2019;
The Voice of Karachi chairman Nadeem Nusrat has lauded President Trump’s efforts to deescalate tensions between Pakistan and India over the Kashmir situation. “Kashmir, however, is not the only burning issue in the region. There are over a hundred million Mohajirs, Balochs, Pashtuns and other ethnic entities who are facing near-genocide at the hands of Pakistani security forces whose majority hails from the country’s Punjab Province only. Without resolving the longstanding grievances non- Punjabi ethnic groups are facing in Pakistan, peace and stability will remain an elusive goal in South Asia,” pointed out Nadeem Nusrat.
The Voice of Karachi chairman said that President Trump’s continuous efforts to defuse the
rapidly escalating tensions between Pakistan and India are admirable. He said that any diplomatic intervention that could prevent potential military conflict between the two nuclear-armed neighbors deserves both appreciation and support from every peace-loving person across the globe.
However, VOK chairman added, while Kashmir appears at the moment an issue that could easily
plunge the entire South Asian region into chaos, it is certainly not the only flashpoint in the region, which also includes Afghanistan where American forces are involved in the country’s longestrunning war. There are other equally, if not more, serious ethnic and religious issues in the region, particularly in Pakistan, that warrant the world’s attention.
Drawing President Trump’s attention to the dire situation in Karachi, the VOK chairman said that Karachi is Pakistan’s largest city which contributes over 65 percent revenue to its treasury. Karachi is also home to millions of ethnic Mohajirs, the descendants of those who had migrated to Pakistan after the partition of India in 1947.
Despite Karachi’s outstanding contribution to Pakistan’s economy, both Karachi and Mohajirs
have been deprived of even the fundamental rights by successive civilian and military
governments. Pakistan has also systematically disenfranchised Karachi’s population through
blatant gerrymandering and manipulation in census figures, leaving Karachi with negligible
presence in the national and provincial legislatures. Those who stand up to this inhuman treatment become the victim of unlawful arrests, brutal torture in custody, enforced disappearances, and even extrajudicial executions. Pakistan’s Punjabi-dominated security forces have extrajudicially killed over 25,000 Mohajirs since 1992 in Karachi and other Mohajir-majority cities in Pakistan’s Sindh Province.
Referring to his previous letter to President Trump, the chairman of Mohajirs’ influential
advocacy group said that more than one half of the population in Karachi and other urban areas in Sindh is under 25. Pakistan has denied this young population access to public-funded professional education and job opportunities through a repressive quota system for decades.
Persistent denial of rights and opportunities has left this young population jobless, frustrated and hopeless, facing abject poverty. Extremist religious outfits such as ISIS -which has recently vowed to make Pakistan its next powerbase- could pounce on this opportunity and use these frustrated youth to achieve their perverted objectives.
The horrific state of human rights in Pakistan’s largest and most resourceful province,
Balochistan, is another source of concern where ethnic Balochs have been demanding greater
control over their province’s land and resources. The State authorities have responded to this demand by carrying out a brutal military operation that very often uses American-supplied F-16 jet fighters. As per accounts of some local Baloch human rights organizations, Pakistani security forces have killed tens of thousands of Balochs in the last few years, and even more, have become the victim of enforced disappearances.
Another sensitive geostrategic region in South Asia is Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province which shares around 1,500 miles-long border with Afghanistan. Since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Pakistani military establishment has turned the KP province into a haven for almost every extremist Islamist group in the world. Pakistani intelligence officials and religious clerics have recruited and trained hundreds of thousands of young Pashtuns from this impoverished region in the last few decades and shipped them to wage jihad in almost every part of the world.
The Taliban was also conceived in a religious seminary in KP.
The KP Province has been facing a brutal military crackdown for years, which has left millions of people displaced. Those indigenous secular forces who have dared to stand up to Pakistan’s Punjabi- dominated military are facing unlawful imprisonment, false charges, and enforced disappearances.
The disputed territories of Gilgit and Baltistan are facing similar levels of persecution where the Pakistani military officials are trying to change the demography by turning the indigenous population into a minority. Those standing up to this tyranny face enforced disappearances or unlawful imprisonment.
Siege and search operations, unlawful arrests, denial of the universal right of due process, curb on media, freedom of expression and association, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial executions are a routine in Karachi, Balochistan, KP, and Gilgit-Baltistan. Persistent denial of human rights in all these territories is brewing a profound sense of deprivation which could turn into a serious law and order crisis.
“The world must ask every Pakistani leader raising Kashmir issue: Is Pakistan willing to stop its state-sponsored terrorism against non-Punjabi ethnic groups and grant them greater autonomy?
Until Pakistan treats its own religious and ethnic entities with dignity and rights they ethically and lawfully deserve, it has no moral ground to plead the Kashmir issue anywhere in the world,” Nadeem Nusrat reiterated his stance.
Nadeem Nusrat said that to address urban Sindh’s deprivation, the Voice of Karachi has already proposed the creation of the autonomous region, Greater Karachi, for urban Sindh’s deprived, yet highly educated and secular population. This region will address the decades-old grievances of Mohajirs as well as other ethnic groups living in urban Sindh. Mohajirs appeal President Trump and other democracy-loving people to extend their full support to this idea, which is guaranteed to ensure long-term peace and stability in Karachi and other areas in urban Sindh.
“South Asia urgently needs steps that could ensure permanent peace and stability, and this is why it is important to treat all burning issues in the region with equal importance. The Voice of Karachi appeals to President Trump to put the issue of the rights of Pakistan’s persecuted ethnic and religious groups on top of agenda while discussing the Kashmir issue with Pakistani authorities,” Nadeem Nusrat concluded.