Pakistan abducts PTM activist for speaking up for the Afghan refugee crisis

PTM coordinator Noorullah Tareen abducted by Pakistan
PTM coordinator Noorullah Tareen

The crackdown on the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) is continuing in Pakistan. In a recent development, Karachi Police has picked Sindh Coordinator of PTM, Noorullah Tareen. Noorullah was abducted from his house in Karachi on 5 October.  

His abduction is in line with the policy of Pakistan, according to which, any activist who raises voice for the persecuted and against the establishment will be hounded, abducted and even killed in many cases. Noorullah Tareen has recently been vocal against the ongoing Afghan refugees repatriation efforts by Pakistan.

Provincial leadership of PTM Karachi has decided to put a strong resistance if he is not presented in the court by Monday.

Crackdown on Afghan refugees and role of PTM Sindh

On 11 September, the Paki establishment initiated a sudden arrest drive against Afghan refugees. Almost 250 Afghan migrants were arrested by Karachi Police including women and children. Pakistan declared that it would be repatriating the undocumented Afghan refugees. Soon it became clear that under the garb of repatriating undocumented Afghan refugees, Pakistan was harassing and selectively targeting them. One of the reasons regarding this was the TTP attack that happened days before the arrests. The Pakistan Army was completely thrashed and humiliated by the TTP terrorist whom it patronised. Frustrated Pak Army launched an assault on the Afghan refugees because of their national identity.

During this hard phase of Afghan migrants, PTM stood beside them. PTM raised the issues of Afghan refugees and held protests. Since, Karachi was the epicenter of the arrests, Noorullah Tareen assumed greater responsibility.  On September 14, PTM provincial committee under Noorullah visited the Afghan colony and assured protection and support. Later, a team of sixty lawyers was set up to provide legal assistance to Afghan refugees and Pashtuns.

Since then, Sindh unit of PTM has been working proactively for the cause of Afghan refugees. Infact, after the Taliban took over Afghanistan in 2021, a significant number of Afghan population sneaked out of the country, some documented and others undocumented. Their only goal was to keep themselves alive. So, if they go to Afghanistan, they will face severe consequences. Therefore, undocumented Afghan refugees are facing a humanitarian crisis and hence need humanitarian support.

Abduction nearing deadline

Since Pakistan has made it clear that they will repatriate every undocumented Afghan migrant before 31 October, it knows that PTM is fighting for their cause. And hence, the abduction of Noorullah Tareen is an illegal action taken by the Pakistan government and establishment to weaken the fight of human rights.

It is the real face of Pakistan. PTM which is a non-violent and human rights advocating organization is dealt with brutality by the Pakistan Army and its puppet establishment.

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