PTM urges UN action on Pashtun discrimination & human rights violations in Pakistan

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pashtun discrimination
Fazlur Rehman Afridi, the head of the legal committee of PTM Europe (Photo: X)

In a compelling address to the United Nations, Fazlur Rehman Afridi, the head of the legal committee of Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) Europe, highlighted how the Pashtuns face discrimination and egregious human rights violations in Pakistan. Afridi’s impassioned plea shed light on the alarming state of affairs faced by Pashtuns, who have been marginalized and subjected to grave injustices with impunity.

The speech underscored the prevailing atmosphere of impunity and disregard for the rule of law, which has relegated Pashtuns to second-class citizenship. Afridi emphasized the disturbing trend of profiling Pashtuns as terrorists, a stigma that has often served as a pretext for excessive use of force by Pakistani authorities.

Pashtuns face discrimination, abductions and enforced disappearances

Among the harrowing incidents cited by Afridi were cases of abduction and enforced disappearance of school-going children as young as 11 years old in Khyber Agency, Pakhtunkhwa. He condemned the abduction of 12 children without due process of law, highlighting the trauma inflicted upon innocent youth at the hands of security forces.

Furthermore, Afridi highlighted the plight of prominent PTM activists, Eidul Rehman, Zakim Wazir, and Gilaman Wazir, who were forcibly disappeared on May 31 2023 and subjected to extreme torture while in custody. The speaker also brought attention to the tragic loss of Pashtun lives due to indiscriminate actions by the Pakistani military, including the killing of four children and one woman in mortar shelling in Shiktoi, South Waziristan on September 6, 2023.

Instances of violence against Pashtun women, including the injury of eight women in South Waziristan due to indiscriminate firing by the Pakistani army, further underscored the urgent need for international intervention. Afridi mentioned the brutal firing over the peacefull protesting former MNA Mohsin Dawar on February 10, 2024. He said, “Former MNA Mohsin Dawar along with 14 of his party members injured and 4 others killed when Pak military fired straight bullet on them. Dawar was protesting peacefully against election rigging in his constituency.”

At last, Afridi culminated his speech with a plea for UN intervention to address the pressing issues facing the Pashtun ethnic minority in Pakistan. Afridi urged the UN to take decisive action to hold the Pakistani government accountable for its violations of human rights and ensure justice for the marginalized Pashtun community.

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