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For Whom does the Pakistan Army’s Heart ‘Beat’?

July 09, 2019 | Nilesh Kunwar

When someone goes missing, the first thing one does is to go and file a ‘missing person report’ at the concerned police station. In case the police is either not inclined to assist, or is unable to trace out the missing person, one can always approach the government and if even this doesn’t work, then one needn’t despair since one can knock on the doors of the judiciary, which is the supreme adjudicating body in a democracy. But if you happen to be in Pakistan, then it’s not the judiciary but the military where the buck finally stops and this explains why Amina Janjua who is the chairperson of Defence of Human Rights Pakistan (DHRP), an independent organisation working for release of illegally detained Pakistani citizens met Director General (DG) of Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor last Friday.
The post-meeting statement released by ISPR mentioned that DG ISPR had "apprised her about the efforts that government and security forces are doing to facilitate them and address the issue (of disappeared persons), for which the judicial commission is working day and night." It also stated that while Maj Gen Ghafoor told Ms Janjua that “our hearts go with the families of missing persons being Pakistanis,” he also clarified that “not every person missing is attributable to (the) state." The ISPR statement stressed that while accounting for missing persons it was necessary to include those detained by the state as they are “under legal process,” while many of the missing persons were part of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) who were either active “in other conflict zones elsewhere," or may have "gotten killed fighting as part of TTP against the state of Pakistan."
The DG ISPR’s admission that some of the missing persons may “under legal process” sends a chill down one’s spine as it’s an unambiguous admission of the state’s implicit complicity in enforced disappearances. But probably Ms Janjua doesn’t seem to think so because from the ISPR statement it appears that she is more than reassured by what the DG ISPR told her as she not only thanked Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa for “all the efforts he has put in the resolution of this issue," but also "also reiterated the pledge that affected families shall not allow any anti-state force to exploit their emotions against the interest of Pakistan." Incidentally, she was also assured by DG ISPR that the army would help to trace out her husband Masood Janjua who disappeared under extremely suspicious circumstances in 2005!
Enforced disappearances in Pakistan is a very sensitive issue as the security forces are the main perpetuators of this barbaric practice. Those who don’t agree may like to peruse the Human Rights Watch World Report 2019 on Pakistan which states, “During counter-terrorism operations, Pakistani security forces often are responsible for serious human rights violations including torture, enforced disappearances, detention without charge, and extrajudicial killings, according to Pakistan human rights defenders and defense lawyers. Counterterrorism laws also continue to be misused as an instrument of political coercion. Authorities do not allow independent monitoring of trials in military courts and many defendants are denied the right to a fair trial.”
So, why has DG ISPR raised this contentious issue of enforced disappearances for the second time in three months and try to touch an emotional chord? While he used the Friday meeting with Ms Janjua to express how “Our hearts go with the families of missing persons being Pakistanis,” on May 10, Maj Gen Ghafoor had tweeted “Our hearts beat with families of every missing person. We share their pain and we are with them in the process of tracing them.” The most likely reason for the DG ISPR’s newly found sympathy for the near and dear ones of those subjected to enforced disappearances isn’t concern or remorse but a deliberate attempt at ‘damage control’ caused by his remarks that accurately reflect the scant regards that Pakistan army has for the human rights of its own people. How can anyone overlook or forget how Maj Gen Ghafoor had during a press conference on April 29 threatened Pashtun Tahaffuz (Protection) Movement (PTM), a social movement for Pashtun human rights based in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan by saying that for them “the time is up”?
Similarly, when asked by Hamid Mir of Geo TV about enforced disappearances had the cheek to defend and trivialise this immoral and criminal practice being perpetuated by Pakistan army against civilians by saying, “You have a deep attachment with missing persons (but) so have we. We don’t wish that anyone should be missing. But when its war, you have to do a lot of things- as they say, all is fair in love and war; war is very ruthless.” Whereas Maj Gen Ghafoor didn’t amplify any further, but the logical inferences that can be drawn from his statements is that the Pakistan army considers anti-militancy operations against its own citizens as ‘war’ and instead of international conventions, its wartime code of conduct is based on Shakespeare’s view that “all is fair in love and war!”
Despite its abysmal human rights record, Pakistan army’s expression of grief that makes its ‘heart’ “go with” or “beat with” and “share the pain” of the families of missing persons could still have been accepted with a pinch of salt if it didn’t admit using the “all is fair in love and war” ideology against its own people. Ironically, when DG ISPR (whose heart beats with the families of disappeared persons) openly tells a social organisation seeking information about thousands of their community members who have mysteriously disappeared that their “time is up,” one’s heart definitely misses a beat!


Email:-------nileshkunwar.56@gmail.com

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For Whom does the Pakistan Army’s Heart ‘Beat’?

July 09, 2019 | Nilesh Kunwar

When someone goes missing, the first thing one does is to go and file a ‘missing person report’ at the concerned police station. In case the police is either not inclined to assist, or is unable to trace out the missing person, one can always approach the government and if even this doesn’t work, then one needn’t despair since one can knock on the doors of the judiciary, which is the supreme adjudicating body in a democracy. But if you happen to be in Pakistan, then it’s not the judiciary but the military where the buck finally stops and this explains why Amina Janjua who is the chairperson of Defence of Human Rights Pakistan (DHRP), an independent organisation working for release of illegally detained Pakistani citizens met Director General (DG) of Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor last Friday.
The post-meeting statement released by ISPR mentioned that DG ISPR had "apprised her about the efforts that government and security forces are doing to facilitate them and address the issue (of disappeared persons), for which the judicial commission is working day and night." It also stated that while Maj Gen Ghafoor told Ms Janjua that “our hearts go with the families of missing persons being Pakistanis,” he also clarified that “not every person missing is attributable to (the) state." The ISPR statement stressed that while accounting for missing persons it was necessary to include those detained by the state as they are “under legal process,” while many of the missing persons were part of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) who were either active “in other conflict zones elsewhere," or may have "gotten killed fighting as part of TTP against the state of Pakistan."
The DG ISPR’s admission that some of the missing persons may “under legal process” sends a chill down one’s spine as it’s an unambiguous admission of the state’s implicit complicity in enforced disappearances. But probably Ms Janjua doesn’t seem to think so because from the ISPR statement it appears that she is more than reassured by what the DG ISPR told her as she not only thanked Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa for “all the efforts he has put in the resolution of this issue," but also "also reiterated the pledge that affected families shall not allow any anti-state force to exploit their emotions against the interest of Pakistan." Incidentally, she was also assured by DG ISPR that the army would help to trace out her husband Masood Janjua who disappeared under extremely suspicious circumstances in 2005!
Enforced disappearances in Pakistan is a very sensitive issue as the security forces are the main perpetuators of this barbaric practice. Those who don’t agree may like to peruse the Human Rights Watch World Report 2019 on Pakistan which states, “During counter-terrorism operations, Pakistani security forces often are responsible for serious human rights violations including torture, enforced disappearances, detention without charge, and extrajudicial killings, according to Pakistan human rights defenders and defense lawyers. Counterterrorism laws also continue to be misused as an instrument of political coercion. Authorities do not allow independent monitoring of trials in military courts and many defendants are denied the right to a fair trial.”
So, why has DG ISPR raised this contentious issue of enforced disappearances for the second time in three months and try to touch an emotional chord? While he used the Friday meeting with Ms Janjua to express how “Our hearts go with the families of missing persons being Pakistanis,” on May 10, Maj Gen Ghafoor had tweeted “Our hearts beat with families of every missing person. We share their pain and we are with them in the process of tracing them.” The most likely reason for the DG ISPR’s newly found sympathy for the near and dear ones of those subjected to enforced disappearances isn’t concern or remorse but a deliberate attempt at ‘damage control’ caused by his remarks that accurately reflect the scant regards that Pakistan army has for the human rights of its own people. How can anyone overlook or forget how Maj Gen Ghafoor had during a press conference on April 29 threatened Pashtun Tahaffuz (Protection) Movement (PTM), a social movement for Pashtun human rights based in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan by saying that for them “the time is up”?
Similarly, when asked by Hamid Mir of Geo TV about enforced disappearances had the cheek to defend and trivialise this immoral and criminal practice being perpetuated by Pakistan army against civilians by saying, “You have a deep attachment with missing persons (but) so have we. We don’t wish that anyone should be missing. But when its war, you have to do a lot of things- as they say, all is fair in love and war; war is very ruthless.” Whereas Maj Gen Ghafoor didn’t amplify any further, but the logical inferences that can be drawn from his statements is that the Pakistan army considers anti-militancy operations against its own citizens as ‘war’ and instead of international conventions, its wartime code of conduct is based on Shakespeare’s view that “all is fair in love and war!”
Despite its abysmal human rights record, Pakistan army’s expression of grief that makes its ‘heart’ “go with” or “beat with” and “share the pain” of the families of missing persons could still have been accepted with a pinch of salt if it didn’t admit using the “all is fair in love and war” ideology against its own people. Ironically, when DG ISPR (whose heart beats with the families of disappeared persons) openly tells a social organisation seeking information about thousands of their community members who have mysteriously disappeared that their “time is up,” one’s heart definitely misses a beat!


Email:-------nileshkunwar.56@gmail.com


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Owner, Printer, Publisher, Editor: Farooq Ahmad Wani
Legal Advisor: M.J. Hubi
Printed at: Abid Enterprizes, Zainkote Srinagar
Published from: Gulshanabad Chraresharief Budgam
RNI No.: JKENG/2010/33802
Office No’s: 0194-2451076, 9622924716 , 9419400056
Postal Regd No: SK/135/2010-2019
Administrative Office: Abi Guzer Srinagar

© Copyright 2018 brighterkashmir.com All Rights Reserved.