Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Pot Calling the Kettle Black

Pakistan Foreign Office said it was approaching the international community, the UN, Organisation of Islamic Conference and human rights organisations, urging them to "take notice" of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

I condone the killings and loss of property in the Kashmir and in Jammu, but this latest rhetoric by Pakistan is ridiculous. Pakistan has poor human rights records by both local and international standards. At a time when the regions of Baltistan and Gilgit are fighting for their freedom from Pakistan occupation, Pakistan's concern for Kashmir's freedom is bewildering.
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As in previous years, violence against women remained rampant in Pakistan. Under Pakistan's existing Hudood Ordinance, proof of rape generally requires the confession of the accused or the testimony of four adult Muslim males who witnessed the assault. If a woman cannot prove her rape allegation she runs a very high risk of being charged with fornication or adultery, the criminal penalty for which is either a long prison sentence and public whipping, or, though rare, death by stoning. The testimony of a woman carries half the weight of a man’s testimony under this ordinance. The government has yet to repeal or reform the Hudood Ordinance, despite repeated calls for its repeal by the government-run National Commission on the Status of Women, as well as women’s rights and human rights groups. Informed estimates suggest that tens of thousands of cases under the Hudood laws are under process at various levels in Pakistan’s legal system.

Domestic and international human rights organizations and media drew attention this year to the government’s dismissive attitude regarding violence against women. In January 2005 Shazia Khalid, a doctor, was raped by a masked intruder alleged to be an army officer in Balochistan province. Khalid, who subsequently fled to London, accused President Musharraf’s principal secretary of acting on behalf of the Pakistan Army in personally coercing her to leave the country. Mukhtaran Mai, who was gang-raped on the orders of a village council in 2002, was denied permission to travel to the United States in June, in order to prevent her from “maligning” Pakistan. The ban was lifted after an international outcry.

President Musharraf subsequently sparked international outrage by publicly stating that rape has become a “money-making concern,” and suggesting that many Pakistanis felt it was an easy way to get a foreign visa. He specifically mentioned both Mukhtaran Mai and Shazia Khalid in this context. Despite the international and domestic condemnation, President Musharraf has not apologized for these remarks or withdrawn them.

Pakistan's Blasphemy Laws target Christians and Hindus living in the country.Several minority Muslim communities, such as the Mojahir and the Ahmadiyya have been attacked in Pakistan over the years. Plus, the ethnic Balochi have allegedly been severely discriminated against, leading them to start a secessionist movement under Nawab Akbar Bugti called the balochistan Liberation Army.Sectarian violence also increased in the predominantly Shi’a Northern Areas. In January Agha Ziauddin, a leading Shia cleric, was murdered in the Himalayan city of Gilgit.

Since 2001 the conduct of the “war on terror" in Pakistan has involved serious violations of human rights. Suspects arrested and held on terrorism charges frequently were detained without charge and subject to trials without proper judicial process. For example, Zain Afzal and Kashan Afzal, U.S. citizens of Pakistani origin, were abducted from their home in Karachi in August 2004 by Pakistani intelligence agents. They were released on April 22, 2005, without having been charged, after Human Rights Watch intervened. During eight months of illegal detention, the two brothers were repeatedly interrogated and threatened by U.S. FBI agents operating in Pakistan, and were subjected to torture by the Pakistani security services.

Military operations are ongoing in South Waziristan, adjacent to the Afghan border, and previously noted problems persist, including collective punishment, extrajudicial executions, arbitrary detentions, and limited access to prisoners.

Pakistan has attacked Human Rights defenders most famously Asma Jehangirthe U.N. special rapporteur on freedom of religion and head of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, the country’s largest such nongovernmental group, was publicly beaten. The police, under orders, also attempted to strip her naked. Some forty others, including Hina Jilani, the U.N. special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, were also beaten and arrested by the provincial police and the federal Intelligence Bureau. This was during an event designed to highlight violence against women in 2005.

The list is longer.It is definitely the case of kettle calling the pot black.

Pakistan's rhetoric is only going to hamper the peace process in India. It serves no ne of the concerned parties, the Kashmiri Muslims or the Kashmiri Pandits or the Dogras. I wish Paksistan would concentrate on its money laundering President rather than creating mischief across the border.

1 comment:

Piper .. said...

Musharraf is a @#$&* ing @#$*&head!! Its just a ploy to divert attention from his present situation. And I dont even want to begin expressing my opinions on pak`s policies - administrative or otherwise. It makes my blood boil.