Pashtun, Baloch facing worst human rights crisis, says activists at UNHRC

Geneva [Switzerland], Mar 11 (ANI): Political activists from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan have raised the issue of worsening human rights situation in their provinces by targeting the Pakistani Army during the 43rd session of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Fazal-ur Rehman Afridi, a Pashtun political activist told the Council, "In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Pakistani Army has unleashed a reign of terror against innocent civilians with impunity." He said, "Two protest sit-ins are in progress simultaneously by Mehsood tribe in Waziristan and Utmanzai tribe in front of provincial Assembly of KPK for the last 44 days for the compensation of more than 90,000 destroyed houses and 8,000 shops and markets in Miranshah during the so-called war on terror." Despite receiving billions of dollars in aid, Pakistan has spent not a single dollar for the rehabilitation and construction of destroyed homes, markets, schools, and other infrastructures. Afridi said: "We express our concern and condemn the illegal arrest and arbitrary detention for 30 days of Manzoor Ahmad Pashteen, a leader of PTM, a well known human rights activist and hero of millions of Pashtuns around the world on false charges of sedition". Idrees Khattak and Hazrat Naeem Abdul Qayum, alias Gilaman Pashteen, two well known human rights activists are allegedly abducted and forcibly disappeared by the ISI, while Ehsanullah Ehsan has been allegedly released after the VIP hospitality of Pakistan Army. At present, several PTM activists like Hanif Pashteen, Zulqarnain Bacha, Ovais Abdal, Alamgir Wazir, and Ghafoor Utmankhel are in illegal custody. "We demand a Truth and Reconciliation Commission under the UN to investigate the human rights violations war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Pakistan Army in the former FATA", Afridi said. Munir Mengal, a Baloch political activist, showed concern about the ongoing military operations in Balochistan. "The people of Balochistan are seen living in a military garrison and facing elimination on a daily basis," said Munir. The systematic suppression, and involuntary disappearances has been declared by many HR organisations, local political parties, and analysts as the slow-motion genocide of the Baloch people which is being done under as per the strategic policy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Munir said, "Eliminate the people from their land, extract the mineral resources of Balochistan against the will, and involvement of local people. Hence has kept them under subjugation". "Only for the sack of land needed for CPEC projects, thousands of people have been removed from their houses by force, hundreds of houses were burned, and many has become victim of enforced disappearances or were eliminated," he said. The Baloch political activist urged the Council to conduct an independent investigation of human rights violations in Balochistan. "The Islamic State of Pakistan is so eager to stop the voice of Baloch people, that thousands have disappeared involuntarily. The perpetrators are doing it with impunity and (it) is being done on a daily basis", he said. "The Baloch people are asking Pakistan where are our loved ones? Many cases have been registered with the UN Working Group on Enforced Disappearances. But unfortunately, years have passed to date and we do not see any concrete and effective steps taken for the safe recovery of missing persons", he concluded. (ANI)