Pakistani Mohajirs’ plight highlighted at UN

Geneva, June 24 (IANS) The European Mohajir Network has highlighted the sorry human rights status of Pakistan’s Mohajirs — the Muslims who migrated from India following Partition in 1947 — at the 29th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) here.

Mohajirs continue to face persecution by the Pakistan government and, therefore, live battered lives in the land they chose after partition, said panellists at an event organised over the weekend by the group seeking justice for Pakistan’s Mohajirs.

Speakers included well-known social experts like European Parliament’s Vice President Ryszard Czarnecki, executive director of the European Mohajir Network Mohammed Khan and human rights activist from Karachi Asif Mohammed, the group said in a press statement here.

Among other issues, the experts focussed on the “outsider/foreigner” status of Mohajirs in Pakistan; their being target of planned genocide attacks in 1965; Pakistan’s double-standards on civil rights; and the 1965 ethnic riots.

The Mohajirs, being ethnically distinct from the Punjab minority, live in parts of Sindh, Punjab and the North West Frontier Province. The Pakistani census claim that 7.2 million Muslims migrated from India to Pakistan after the Partition.

The panellists said that in the last few months hundreds of lives have been lost on the streets of Karachi as targeted killing increased. They accused the Pakistani government of not paying any heed to the plight of Mohajirs during the riots of 1985 and 2011, which claimed thousands of lives.

Riots broke out in the country in 1985 when the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) called for equal rights and identity and in 2011 over 900 were killed in Karachi itself following ethnic and political tensions.

Earlier, the riots of 1965 claimed hundreds of innocent lives when Mohajirs called for equal status in Pakistani society, experts said.

They added that over 1.3 million people have died in Pakistan in targeted killing of the Mojahirs.

“While these are some of the important issues that the international community needs to contemplate on and condemn the Pakistani government for its stubbornness for deliberately ostracising the Mohajirs, it must also adopt a pro-active role,” the European Mohajir Network said.

The group asked the international community to seek answers from the Pakistani government and “hold it accountable and prosecute those found guilty in the International Court of Justice”.

The UNHRC should effectively project the issue of Mohajirs in Pakistan amongst the nations of the world, it said, adding that “the agency cannot turn a blind eye and keep Pakistan as a member nation simultaneously”.

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