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Put full end to Pashtun/Afghan refugees persecution: Asfandyar told Sharif

AT-KABUL: The Pashun nationalist has came hard over Pakistan’s duplicity policy against Pashtun communities and Afghan refugee living in Punjab province. The Chief of Awami National Party (ANP), Asfandyar Wali Khan has sent a letter to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, complaining against the ongoing harassment of Pashtuns and Afghan refugees by the Punjab police.

The letter highlighted several problems including the arrest of Pashtuns and Afghan refugees without any specific charges. The letter also lamented over blocking of the National Identity cards is carried out on massive scale by the Punjab government and the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA). The sent letter also mentioned that the parliamentarians of various political parties, including the ANP have been repeatedly raised their sound voice in National Assembly and Senate of Pakistan against this ongoing illegality and discrimination against Pashtuns. The letter highlighted that the provincial assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has passed unanimous resolution asking the federal government and provincial government of Punjab to stop these illegal, discriminative and unconstitutional practices, which are a clear violation to the article 15 of the Constitution of Pakistan. The letter furthered, delegations of political leaders and parliamentarians have met with responsible government authorities to draw their attention to the sufferings of Pashtuns in Punjab province. “But all these efforts have not produced tangible results,” the letter read out. Asfandyar added in his letter that recently the situations aggravated further when the Punjab police and law enforcement authorities resorted to systematic racial profiling of Pashtuns.

He pointed out that written instructions by the Punjab’s police and NADRA officials appeared in mainstream and social media for carrying out racial profiling of Pashtuns in Punjab. Similarly, a provincial minister of Punjab during an interview, not only confirmed discrimination against Pashtuns but also tried to justify it in the light of recent terrorist attacks took place in Punjab province. “All this has been very much painful for the Pashtuns who have borne the brunt of terrorist onslaught as misguided policies of successive governments,” the letter added.  This comes after the ANP delegation who visited the Lahore- capital city of Punjab province on March 7, 2017. The delegation spent three days in Lahore and met students, laborers, shopkeepers, trade bodies and professionals. The ANP delegation met to a large numbers of community representatives and also held telephonically conversation with Pashtun population in other cities of Punjab. The report of ANP’s fact and finding committee has established the fact that there is a systematic and formal racial profiling of Pashtuns going on in the Punjab by the police and security agencies. Arrests without specific charges, night raids, police registration and blocking of ID cards have become a routine practice.

The ANP chief has demanded Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif some rational solution to the dilemma—first, is to order a judicial inquiry into the issue of racial profiling, harassment and persecution of Pashtun IDPs and Afghan refugees in Punjab province. This demand has made in order that the PM to determine his responsibility. Second, direct the Interior Minister in general and NADRA in particular to unblock the national identity cards of Pakistani citizens belonging to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, FATA and Baluchistan. Third, instruct the Punjab’s police to stop compulsory registration of all Pashtuns and their guests. Fourth, ask the Punjab’s police and security agencies not to particularly target the areas inhabited by the Pashtun communities as a whole for the night raids. Fifth, issue orders for the immediate release of Pashtun daily wage labors arrested under the racial policy of profiling in different cities of Punjab.

Prior to this, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PKMAP) parliamentarians have recorded a strong protest in provincial assembly of Baluchistan against the discrimination and racial profiling against Pashtuns/Afghan refugees by the Punjab’s police and various security agencies of the country. Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pervez Khattak also visited the Punjab province to examine the situation and urged the provincial government of Punjab to immediately stop the ongoing discrimination against Pashtun communities in the province.

However, some analysts in Afghanistan have termed all these steps as a ‘political point scoring’ and expressed their disappointment in the slow flight of Pashtun Nationalist Parties in Pakistan to the current crisis. They urged ANP and PKMAP leadership to have courage of massive and repeated public demonstrations against the ongoing barbarism of Punjab against innocent Pashtun and Afghan refugees. “Reason for the slow action of both the Pashtun nationalist parties is known as; The PKMAP is a beneficial partner of Nawaz government in the centre and Baluchistan as well.”

They say that ANP has made compromise with the Pakistani establishment to give them mandate for the next government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and that’s why they are not doing enough.

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