Pakistani Army must stop using terror groups as instruments of foreign policy

Pakistani Army must stop using terror groups as instruments of foreign policy: Pakistani dissidents

Under the banner of South Asians Against Terrorism & For Human Rights (SAATH) Forum, the group that includes Pakistan’s former envoy to the US Hussain Haqqani, said the security agencies must close “torture cells and black sites”, known as internment centres.

A group of dissident Pakistanis has expressed deep disappointment over continuous military intervention and abridgement of democratic freedoms in Pakistan and called on mainstream parties to stand up for civilian supremacy, constitutional governance, and rule of law in the country.

The group also demanded that the Pakistan military must put an end to the continuing use of extremist militant groups as instruments of foreign and domestic policy and for that matter treating the western border of the country as the strategic backyard of Pakistan.

Under the banner of South Asians Against Terrorism & For Human Rights (SAATH) Forum, the group that includes Pakistan’s former envoy to the US Hussain Haqqani, said the security agencies must close “torture cells and black sites”, known as internment centres, and either bring cases against thousands of detainees before the regular courts of law to stand trial or release them unconditionally.

We are also disappointed in Pakistan’s mainstream political parties and their willingness to continuously cede space to military intervention and abridgement of democratic freedoms. These parties must practice internal democracy and acknowledge that democracy is not just seeking office through elections, the SAATH said in a resolution.

Pakistan’s mainstream political parties must stand up for civilian supremacy, constitutional governance, and rule of law and not be content with power of patronage granted to them through manipulated elections, it said.

The dissident members participated in a fourth edition of the SAATH conference here and also passed the resolution calling for an end to military oppression in Balochistan.

The security agencies must put an end to enforced disappearances and account for thousands of missing persons and those extra-judicially killed. To that end, there is a dire need for the formation of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to bring closure to the victims of state-sponsored oppression, the resolution said.

Prominent among those who participated included U.S.-based columnist Mohammad Taqi, former Senator Afrasiab Khattak, former Ambassador Kamran Shafi, former editor of Daily Times Rashed Rahman, journalists Taha Siddiqui, Gul Bukhari and Marvi Sirmed and activist Gulalai Ismail.

Earlier SAATH conferences were held in London in 2016 and 2017 and in Washington DC in 2018.

SAATH 2020 demands that after the merger of erstwhile FATA with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, life shall be returned to normalcy in the erstwhile FATA. The 25th Constitutional Amendment is implemented effectively, and the military should hand over policing to the police department, the resolution said.

SAATH condemns the brutality of the military against the residents of erstwhile FATA after attacks on the military check posts by the militants.

SAATH recognizes that peace in Pakistan is inextricably linked with peace in Afghanistan and peace in the region. Pakistan should revise its Afghan policy of strategic depth and devise a new policy based on social, economic and academic cooperation between the two countries, the resolution said.

Recognizing that peace in Pakistan is inextricably linked with peace in Afghanistan and peace in the region, the resolution said that Pakistan should revise its Afghan policy of strategic depth and devise a new policy based on social, economic and academic cooperation between the two countries.

The resolution demanded that the CPEC project should be reconsidered in light of the views of the peoples of Gilfit-Baltistan, Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, and Sindh.

As currently conceived, this project benefits China only and seems like a ploy to control valuable natural resources, displace populations, and leave the provinces with irreparable environmental damage, it said.

The resolution also expressed concerns over some of the recent developments in India including the abrogation of Article 370, Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

The escalating tensions between the US and Iran in the wake of the assassination of Iranian commander Qasim Soleimani, can potentially threaten destabilisation of the region, the resolution added.

The Hindu

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