Pakistan must be held accountable for war crimes, ethnic cleansing and human rights violations, Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain said on Friday.
Addressing a side event during the 37th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) via Skype from London where he is in self-exile, Hussain said, “The United Nations, must ensure that Pakistan is held accountable for its actions, pressure must be applied by member states to ensure that Pakistan stops violating one’s rights, which is not only afforded by the United Nations conventions, but enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan.”
He further said, “Unfortunately, Pakistan being a signatory to the United Nations since its very inception, has completely disregarded all conventions, resolutions and UN notices, a complete disregard to humanity.. The atrocities which are being carried out by the state go beyond anyone’s imagination. In fact, they amount to war crimes, ethnic cleansing, genocide amounts to a war crime.”
Targeting Pakistan’s armed forces and in particular the Pakistan Army, the MQM founder called on the UN and all of its other allied organisations to take them to task.
“Those corrupt military personnel who support and implement must be held accountable as war criminals, they must be tried before the ICJ (International Court of Justice in The Hague). I request member states to support me and my community, help us to bring these criminals to justice. Mass murderers must be held accountable,” Hussain said.
Urging the United Nations to hold an urgent summit and place Pakistan before those responsible and seek answers from them, the MQM founder also flagged the issue of what he described as the “ethnic cleansing” of “my fellow Baloch, Pashtoons and people from FATA.”
“I am steadfast, and I am fully aware of the ethnic cleansing which is being carried out against you. Till my last breath I will not remain silent, where I speak for the Mohajirs I will speak for all those who are oppressed by these tyrants, irrespective of their ethnic belonging, religious belief, cast, colour or creed. You have me to raise your plight,” Hussain said during his stirring speech.
He also used his address and the platform of the UNHRC to highlight the struggle of the Mohajirs since the partition of the Indian subcontinent in August 1947.
He said that he had formed a progressive, liberal and democratic Mohajir Quami Movement (MQM) in 1984 with the objective of raising the voices of the community at all legislative forums across Pakistan and the world, and to highlight the oppression and victimization faced by them from the Pakistani military regime since Pakistan’s inception nearly 71 years ago.
He said, “I represent all those human beings who have been oppressed by the Pakistani military regime, since the very inception of Pakistan, and in particular the Mohajirs who had migrated from India to Pakistan in 1947. It may seem strange to you, but the undeniable truth is that I have been banned to speak to my millions of followers, the Government of Pakistan has placed a media ban on me, my voice, my photos, my name cannot appear in any electronic medium which is used to express ones voice, the crime for being banned ?”
“I am not the only leader who has spoken against the state, many other leaders in Pakistan have criticised the state, but not a single action was taken against them, because they are regarded as son of the soil, and the Mohajirs are not classed as equal citizens, no one dare speak for them..I was forced into exile in 1992, many attempts were made to assassinate me, over 22,000 Mohajirs have been butchered by the state machinery, but no voice was raised by our fellow citizens, silence prevailed, I was the only voice in Pakistan to speak out to highlight that religious extremism is breeding and will soon take over Pakistan, this was not liked by the rulers, and I was subjected to silence,” he added.
He maintained that since 2013, Mohajirs are again being subjected to an intense military-led crackdown.
“Over 84 extra-judicial killings have taken place, over 450 have been the subjects of enforced disappearances, and thousands are languishing in arbitrary detention, without access to their due rights, their only crime, allegiance to Altaf Hussain,” he said.