LAHORE: Racial profiling of Pakhtuns will divide the Pakistani society and polarize it. Radical steps need to be taken on urgent basis to shrug off an impression by Punjab Government of targeting Pakhtuns in the wake of ongoing search operation against terrorists in province,” speakers at panel discussion ‘Resist Racism: Discrimination in the Aftermath of Terror’ held on Friday were of the unanimous view.

The event had been organized by People's Solidarity Forum at Books n Beans on Friday. “Terrorists are only terrorists and they can be of any colour, community and ethnicity; targeting specifically the Pakhtun community and portraying them as terrorists will not be beneficial to anyone,” the speakers concluded at the end of thought provoking discussion, which was attended by a large number of students from different universities. Amar Ali who runs People's Solidarity Forum moderated the discussion.

Gohar Khan, history student at Government College University, hails from Lakki Marwat and a member of Progressive Students Collective said that racial profiling and racial discrimination of one specific community will weaken the Pakistani society. “Pakhtun students who are studying in several universities and colleges across Punjab will feel insecure in face of operations by law enforcement agencies working under Punjab government,” he was of the view.

Shaista Tareen, who hails from Quetta was of the view that battle with discrimination started when you enrolled in any educational institutions and you have been targeted only because you speak ‘Pushto’.

Taj Khan, worker and activist at Rang Mahel Market from Buner said police often questions him and searches him for no apparent reason.

The panel discussion was held and had discourse on the effects of discriminatory measures against Pashtuns, urging government to devise strategies to overcome these racist divisions.

Speakers were of the view that in the fight against terrorism there is dire need to create unity in our ranks to end hate, terror and divisions in society.

Speakers said that dividing populations based on ethnic, linguistic, religious, class or gender differences will only breed more hate, fear and violence.

They pointed out that the crackdown against any specific community will restrain the right of free movement, freedom of expression. “Such solidarity for the marginalized is the only tribute to the many innocent lives lost due to terrorism,” they said.