Sunday, April 5, 2020

Guterres’s Concerns – TBP Editorial

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United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres left Pakistan on Wednesday after completing a four-day visit to the country. It was his second visit to the country, the first one when he was the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

However, Mr. Guterres was still concerned about refugees even though the title of his job had changed. Interestingly, he preferred meeting them in the Capital city rather than visiting KPK (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and Balochistan where Eighty percent of the Afghan refugees live, 60% and 20% respectively.

It is understandable that high profile visits such as Secretary General’s are pre-planned and pre-scheduled for security and clarity purposes, but Mr. Guterres was clearly kept in denial by the authorities as he applauded Pakistan’s transformation from terrorism to tourism, whereas, during his visit, a suicide bomber killed 15 innocent people and left 23 seriously wounded in Balochistan. Same Balochistan where 20% of Afghan Refugees reside and there were no words of condemnation from him.

One always expects the highest office of the United Nations to be critical of a government’s authoritative policies and it was highly appreciated the way Mr. Guterres took a principled stance on Kashmir issue. However, there was more that people hoped from Mr. Guterres, people hoped his visit to be different than Mr. Erodgan’s, people look at his office as a neutral leader not an ally to the country who has her own backyard filled with mass-graves.

On his visit, Mr. Gutress showed his concern towards Kashmir, lauded the transformation of terrorism to tourism and appreciated the corridor set up for the Sikh pilgrims in Punjab.

This visit would have been balanced and fair if Mr. Guterres had also offered his respected offices to investigate the thousands of missing persons in Balochistan as Pakistan always claims that these are not her doings. And this visit would have been balanced and fair if Mr. Guterres would have said few words about the minority rights—forced marriages, conversions, and persecutions under blasphemy laws) on his visit to Kartarpur. And his stance on Kashmir had sounded more just if Mr. Guterres would have mentioned the plight and systematic persecution of Baloch, Sindhi, and Pashtoon.

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