Press Release, 3 June 2008
Lahore: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan warns the government to come up with a holistic strategy and a sane policy in combating militants. The bomb blast in Islamabad, ostensibly targeting the Danish embassy, blowing up of a CD shop and a girls school in Mardan, all in a single day should put those in authority on full alert. Militancy is spreading and recruitment is in full swing. According to credible reports received by HRCP, the militants are being handled with kid gloves while the security forces are regularly using excessive force against non-combatants.
Election results of 2008 make it abundantly clear that the militants have very little support amongst the local population. In the former Malakand Division, where militants have kept the local people hostage, the polls returned candidates that were not affiliated to religious extremism.
There is also disturbing information that the militants enjoy patronage of those who are in the decision making of running the so-called “war on terror”. HRCP calls upon political leadership to take the lead in expressing unqualified outrage against acts of terrorism as such acts only harm the economic, political and social growth of Pakistan and its citizens. Pakistan cannot afford to isolate herself from the international community but the activity of the militants and the smugness of the establishment will alienate a number of friendly countries. It will have a devastating effect on the country’s economy and political standing. All sections of Pakistani society must act with sobriety and denounce all those supportive of Taliban style groups operating within the country.
Asma Jahangir, Chairperson