Pashtuns labelled as 'terrorists' by Pakistan: Activist

ANI | Updated: Mar 19, 2018 17:52 IST

Geneva [Switzerland], Mar 19 (ANI): Prominent Pashtun human rights activist Fazal-ur-Rehman Afridi said that the Pashtun community was being labelled as 'terrorists' by the Pakistan military forces.

He further alleged that they were being suppressed completely by Pakistan.

"Military operations have been going on in Pakistan for a very long time. The Pashtuns have been living in fear. They have been labelled as terrorists by the Pakistani military. So, the international community has accepted the wrong version of the establishment of Pakistani military, who are suppressing the Pashtuns," Afridi told ANI.

He also claimed that the Pakistan government was supporting the military establishment in oppressing the Pashtuns such as arbitrary detentions, abductions, enforced disappearances, torture and extrajudicial killings.

He further said that the Pashtuns were living in fear due to such activities.

Commenting on the Pashtun Freedom Movement, which demands the independence of Pashtuns from Pakistan, Afridi underscored that the movement was being held for them to express themselves freely and to raise their voice against the atrocities committed by the Pakistan military forces.

"The movement is based in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The Pashtuns have faced inhuman treatment by the Pakistani military especially in Waziristan. One million Pashtuns have been displaced, while between 65,000-70,000 people have been killed. At least 35 million Pashtuns have disappeared in Pakistan," he explained.

The Pashtun activist added that if the Pakistan military forces had kidnapped a relative, it would warn the people to not disclose the matter to anyone or to media.

He warned that if anybody discloses the alleged abductions of the Pakistan forces, then that person would also be abducted and would be tortured.

Terming the Pashtuns as the victims of 'terrorism' in Pakistan, Afridi further said that the movement was being launched to unite the community from different spheres of life and to raise their atrocities committed by the Pakistani forces in an international platform.

Continuing his tirade against Pakistan, Afridi asserted, "Afghanistan's claims of Pakistan harbouring the Taliban and other terror organisations such as the Haqqani network was absolutely true. They are playing a double game with the United States and the international community. Have you ever heard of such news saying that - 'Taliban leader killed in FATA' or 'al-Qaeda leader arrested there'? No, Never!"

He also alleged that instead of killing the Taliban leaders, Pakistan was supporting them, calling it as 'good Taliban'.

He went on to say that with the government and military's support, the Pakistan military were destabilising Afghanistan and destroying properties and shops in the country for their personal gains.

The Pashtun activist also slammed the China- Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project saying it was benefitting China largely.

Terming China's huge influence in the project as 'Chinasation of Pakistan', Afridi said that the project was not benefitting the people in Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa as promised earlier by the Pakistan government, where the corridor passes through.

"China is helping Pakistan to suppress the independence movement of the Balochs and oppressing the people in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. It is also suppressing people who are talking against the CPEC project. I have heard that some Pashtun leaders were being bribed by Chinese officials to support the CPEC project. China is playing 'dirty games' in the (South Asian) region for its personal economic and commercial interests," he concluded.

Massive anti-Pakistan protests were held by the Pashtuns across the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan against the atrocities committed on them by Pakistani forces and are demanding a complete independence from the country.

The protests, held by the Pashtun Tahaffuz (Freedom) Movement were seen holding a gathering in Bara in Khyber Agency in north-west Pakistan reiterating their demands and mobilising people for upcoming gathering in Peshawar, according to Mashaal Radio's Twitter handle.

A Twitter used posted a picture of Pakistan Army who is frisking Pashtun children at an unidentified location.

"Rogue army-Pakistani Army. These little Pashtun kids are not terrorists but in fact, the mentality of Pakistani Punjabi Army is rubbish. Pakistani Army is the axis of evil. #ISI have established the factories of terrorism, and it's a cash cow business for them," the user wrote on the micro-blogging site.