In a recent interview with NDTV, regarding his book “Reimagining Pakistan: Transforming a Dysfunctional Nuclear State” Husain Haqqani, the exiled former Pakistan’s Ambassador to the USA, had said, ‘I consider myself to be lucky enough to be in exile’. His statement seems to be fully justified in the light the latest report of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), about Pakistan’s human rights record over the past one yearAs per Husain Haqqani in Pakistan anyone questioning the Govt’s policies is taken as a traitor, any critique as an aberration of being a loyal Pakistani and such people are either put in jail at unknown places or they simply disappear. As per HRCP, last year only staggering figures of 868 disappearances have been reported in the country.
HRCP, an independent watchdog for Human Right violations, has also criticised Pakistan’s human rights record over the past year underlining that the nation has failed to make any progress. People, who criticise the establishment or advocate better relations with India continue to disappear in Pakistan. In this abysmal background, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, chief of Pakistan Army, suggesting for the peaceful proposition with India sounds a bit strange if not completely out of the line.
His remarks which came during his speech at the passing-out parade of cadets at the Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul, however, smacks of deep-rooted hatred against India, Indian Army and ISPR’s stand on Kashmir.
His, address seemed to be the last lesson of radicalization of the passing out cadets to renew their anti-India resolve and cement their belief on Kashmir. Is this correct to dish out such ideas to the young minds that are yet to think independently?
Talking about peaceful dialogue to solve the core issue of Kashmir with India and accusing India of imposing “hybrid war” in the same breath, but bit subtly without any names exposes the hidden agenda. Same get also manifested by HRCP reports about frequent disappearances of people with liberal ideas and blatant misuse of the blasphemy law. The rise of religious bigotry and helplessness of the government in pushing back against religious zealots fearing backlash, remains the main reason for increased incidents of atrocities against the minorities. The people’s right to socio-economic activities is also curtailed by intolerance and extremism. Attacks, on Shias, Christians and even Ahmedis, falsely accused of blasphemy, have become a common feature. Worst is the Christian community who are being targeted regularly.
What is surprising is that radical organisations, who are believed to be supported by Pak Army on the pretext of mainstreaming, continue to resist laws aimed at curbing violence against women, laws giving greater rights to women and removing legal restrictions on social exchanges between sexes, which remain segregated in many parts of the Pakistani society.
As per the HRCP report, freedom of thought, conscience, and religion continues to be stifled, incitement to hatred and bigotry have increased, and tolerance has further receded. Shackles on the activists, journalists, and bloggers have been the worst for reporting against the ills of the country. Many of them have fled their own country and living in exile like Hussain Haqqani, Raja Rumi, and Ahmad Waqass Goraya. Role of Pak Army backed ISI in these activities have been established time and again. Even the activist like Raza Mehmood Khan, who worked with schoolchildren on both sides of the border to foster better relations, was not spared for criticising the religious extremism.
Apropos, Army Chief’s remark, that the Army has totally rejected extremism and terrorism and is committed to make Pakistan a safe, prosperous and progressive country, draws a big question mark.