Hundreds of Pakistani minorities living in the United States staged a protest in Washington recently, over the atrocities carried out against religious and other minorities in Pakistan for the last several decades. The protestors expressed anger over their exploitation too by the Pakistani State. The protestors in Washington DC comprised of Mohajirs (refugees who had gone to Pakistan from India), Balochs, Pashtuns and some religious minorities too.
The protestors belonging to the Mohajir group, Muttahida Qaumi Movement‘s (MQM) USA chapter told the American media that the Pakistani military establishment has meted out a lot of injustice to its minorities. Every day there are reports of indefinite number of cases related to killings and disappearances of minorities. The group said, they, as Pakistani protestors wanted to raise their voice in front of the White House and other human rights organisations. The protestors called for international help for the minorities in Pakistan and others oppressed there.
They said, many minority groups in Pakistan were asking for the right of self-determination. They need freedom from all injustices in Pakistan. The protestors accused that Pakistan is hell-bent on destroying the identity of many ethnic and religious minorities and has been propagating a narrative that suits its oppressive agenda in the region.
They said the powerful military establishment in Pakistan never took any action against the jihadi groups, keeping in mind the recent conflict between India and Pakistan. They also accused that various jihadi groups have been created by the Pak military for the purpose terrorising Pakistan’s ethnic and religious minorities. They jihadis are the greatest assets of the Pakistani military. The military has supported and enfolded the jihadis under their protection.
The protestors further said that Pakistan and its infamous secret agency, Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) has a long history of nurturing terrorist organisations, providing them with safe havens and training militants and banned religious outfits in the northern mountainous region. This has created a situation of terror and unrest both inside and outside Pakistan, mainly in neighbouring countries like India, Afghanistan, and Iran.
The minorities of Pakistan believe that the Pakistani establishment would never take any action against the jihadi groups and would continue to mislead the international community.
Pakistani establishment has been misleading the international community because of the money they receive from many countries. The aid provided to Pakistan from various international bodies and the United States is not being channelised for right purposes. It is used solely for one purpose and that is terrorism. Therefore, it is necessary to stop the aid, a MQM leader based in USA, who participated in the protest, said.
Baloch protestors, associated with the Baloch National Movement (BNM), were of the opinion that injustice was the reason behind the protest in Washington. People have been compelled to protest against injustice; the minorities are tired of Pakistan’s inaction. The Baloch protestors said. The Baloch were never a part of Pakistan. They wanted a separate country. After Pakistan was created, Islamabad forcefully occupied Balochistan.
Talking about the primacy of the army’s role in Pakistan, the Baloch protestors said Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s talk of bringing peace to the region is only an eye-wash to the international community. Pakistani army has been controlling the country since the day it was born. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was described as “a puppet” by the protestors. He has no power and cannot say or do anything. The Pakistani army has written the script for him and Mr. Khan is only carrying out the instructions of Pakistan army.
The Baloch protestors further asserted that the minorities in Pakistan have been deprived of basic human rights as well as constitutional rights by the Pakistani government. The protestors said that the minority groups in Pakistan continue to suffer the worst form of discrimination. The voices of those demanding their rights are muzzled using brute force.
Script: Dr. Ashok Behuria, Strategic Analyst on Pakistan