Are European states revisiting Pakistan as a safe country for refugees?

Human rights organizations say that Pakistan is among one of the worst countries on Earth for minorities

2016-04-24T23:52:10+05:00 Khadija Khan

I just came to know through friends in Brussels and Berlin that amidst one of the worst ever refugee crises, the Amnesty International and other international human rights organizations are planning to push the European governments to reconsider their policy of declaring Pakistan a safe country for deporting asylum seeking citizens back to.

Their arguments would leave a Pakistani heart into deep sorrow. These organizations are of the view that Pakistan, along with Afghanistan and Bangladesh, is among one of the worst countries on Earth for minorities.

Anyhow the emotional and super charged “patriotic” Pakistani mind would immediately rush to the conclusion that these organizations are just serving the enemies of Pakistan and Islam by claiming so. But a little mind-employing led me to the fact that these rights activists were actually fighting for the rights of my own people: the Pakistanis who were under hot waters both at home and overseas.

The poor people are discriminated by their fellow citizens for having different beliefs or ideologies. How could I dare declare such human act a conspiracy when it is actually extended towards the people who belong to my homeland?

A senior rights activist who is also a friend of mine and has spent decades studying the social fabric of Pakistan told me that her organization was convinced that problems of Pakistani people especially the minorities were far from over.

There is a plethora of rights violations in Baluchistan alone and extreme violence is unleashed upon the marginalized religious or political groups such as Christians, Ahmadis, Shias (Hazaras, Ismaelis etc).

She even went to say that the human rights organizations across the world did not totally disrespect Pakistan’s claim of the involvement of foreign forces in triggering militancy in different parts of the country, but that did not give any excuse to Pakistani law enforcers to persecute their own citizens through extra judicial means.

They are of the view that those whom the country finds involved in crimes should be tried under a fair justice system so that no innocent ends up behind the bars, in a torture chamber or a mass grave.

Pakistanis believe that their military and police services were capable enough to expose any miscreants in the country as they recently claimed catching one of the highest ranking Indian spies from Balochistan. Under the given circumstances one thinks that there is no reason for our citizens in Baluchistan to go through such barbaric episodes.

The time has come for the governments and Pakistani establishment to relieve the nation from the constant fear of the known and unknown, which they have been facing now for decades mostly in form of dictatorships, terrorism and both social and economic instability.

The time has come to respect the lives of our citizens and not allow anybody to bury them in mass graves in the deserts of Baluchistan or rip them apart indiscriminately in public parks, transport, religious places or markets.

We should be learning some lessons from the other civilized countries who don’t allow the extra judicial killing or extreme torture even against mass murders and terrorists like Anders Brevik, Saleh Abdul Salam and other evil characters.

We should be striving to work to strengthen our institutions and make them independent enough to pick up and try the gross criminals of all kinds without fear and pressure. But of course that is not going to happen unless some of those criminals or their handlers are themselves sitting in the corridors of power.

One ray of hope as most of us think could be General Raheel Sharif as he comes from the family of heroes who have shed their blood for the country. But then the question arises whether even General Sharif would be allowed by the politicians or the powerful generals to purge this fateful country of the evil termites that have been decaying all pillars of the nation for decades. 

Lately around 200 refugees, mainly Pakistanis, have been deported back to Turkey under an EU deal while they face a clear threat of being sent back to Pakistan, with some also facing maltreatment back in the homeland for different reasons.

It is such a dilemma that a talented and progressive nation like Pakistan is unable to improve the rights situation of their marginalized communities and non-Muslim Pakistanis.

This four-decade long radicalization of the people in the hands of hardliner clerics have killed our tolerance level to zero and we have almost forgotten our mystic trait of resolving the issues through dialogue and amicable means. Reversing this cycle of intolerance might also be an extremely painstaking task even if somebody agrees to follow this track.

We will have to convince our law enforcers to follow the tracks of a judicial process when encountering some offenders. We would also have to convince the judiciary to feel secure and independent in their decisions no matter who stands in the witness box.

But most of all we would have to convince the masses that they would have to give up this politics of lynching people in the streets because it portrays us as a vigilante nation that cannot stand difference of opinion and wants to resolves even petty issues through violence.

We will have to convince the people that Pakistanis cannot discriminate against each other in the name of caste, colour or creed.

We will have to address the reservations of Balochis, Hazaras, Ismaelis or anyone else who has a difference of opinion with the masses.

We have to teach these crazy clerics that you are doing no service to Pakistan or Islam by preaching the manslaughter of Christians, Ahmadis, Shias or Sunnis of the country.

In fact the biggest factor contributing to the spread of the ideology of Ahmadis across the world is the vehement violence against the small community. The murder of Asad Shah in England by a fanatic is an explicit example of this phenomenon. In this case Pakistani mullahs are the biggest source of spreading Ahmadism by making them victims of their barbaric violence and making the world take pity on them despite not necessarily having any sympathies for their cause.

The West has given refuge to more Afghans, Arabs, Pakistanis, Iranians, Shia, Sunni or any Tom, Dick or Harry who comes to their land claiming that they need protection from their own people, governments or institutions than the Ahmadis.

And how does one allow persecution of the Christian or Hindu Pakistanis when they had opted to trust Muhammad Ali Jinnah and decided to live and die for this country instead of moving to India or somewhere else. Who had rewritten our founding principles and termed the non-Muslim Pakistanis as lesser beings?

Learn some lessons from the civilized world where nobody gives their minorities – be it Muslims or any other – separate pots to drink and eat. How appalling it is to fix the filthy jobs like sanitary work only for the minority groups and introduce them to your children as “choora” (outcaste).

Wake up O Pakistanis! Realize that they are your people and belong to your country. All I want is to request you to stop hurting your fellow citizens if you are really sincere with your country or faith.

Because “everything you resist persists” as Carl Jung had warned. And through violence, you earn nothing but a bad name for the beloved Pakistan.

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