2 September 2009
With regard to a letter titled “HRCP?” published in The Nation on September 2, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan would like to set the record straight.
HRCP cannot help but notice the extremely selective perusal of newspapers by the writer. HRCP has consistently raised its voice against Taliban atrocities in Swat, even when it was deemed extremely dangerous to speak against them.
HRCP would like to draw attention to literally dozens of public statements it has made regarding Taliban atrocities in Swat. In August 2008, HRCP wrote to the prime minister and the NWFP chief minister urging them to address the alarming human rights abuses in Swat and referred to Taliban as criminals and terrorists when people, and even the government, chose not to openly oppose the Taliban.
In September 2008, HRCP had urged the need for using effective force to fight terrorism in Swat.
In January 2009, it demanded the government take action instead of “fiddling as Swat burns”.
HRCP was one of the few organizations to openly criticise April 13 – the day when the National Assembly was scared by Taliban threats into backing the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation for Malakand Division – calling it “a day of ignominious capitulation”.
On February 20, HRCP had publicly expressed outrage for the so-called truce between the government and Swat Taliban.
On April 5, the HRCP had openly stated that Pakistan and Taliban could not co-exist. On April 4, HRCP was at the forefront of organising a demonstration in Lahore to assert the people’s will to resist and defeat the terrorists.
The statements can be accessed at HRCP’s blog: hrcpblog.wordpress.com
HRCP was at the forefront of organising demonstrations against the flogging of the woman in Swat that the writer has referred to, as well as to oppose terrorism.
As for human rights violations in Indian-held Kashmir (IHK), HRCP would like to state the obvious – that it is a organization with a mandate to work on human rights within Pakistan, but is quite satisfied with the excellent work being done by a number organizations in both Pakistan and India on the human rights situation in IHK.
The HRCP report that refers to mass graves in Swat also covers atrocities by the Taliban and the civilian population’s plight. In that report, HRCP has pointed out the mass killings and instead of assigning blame asked the government to conduct a transparent inquiry to determine responsibility.
HRCP reiterates that it believes in the protection of rights of all individuals, whether they are suspected militants, ordinary citizens, or indeed even criminals.
While HRCP appreciates fair criticism, it expects that those criticising its work would make at least some effort to get their facts right.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan