NEW DELHI: As a political analyst, researcher and president of the Paris-based NGO Baloch Voice Association, Munir Mengal has been lobbying for the rights of Baloch people for several years now.
The activist in him never misses an opportunity to speak his heart out at a world forum to expose the gross human rights violations perpetrated by the Pakistani government and military in Balochistan. Yesterday, at United Nations Geneva-in the meeting of the 18th Session of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action-the Baloch representative told the Working Group about how schools in Pakistan are feeding anti-Hindu hatred and also hostility against the Jews.
“Mr. Chairperson, I used to go to school in a very high-standard, state-run Army school called the Cadet College. The first lesson taught to us was that Hindus are kafirs (a pejorative and derogatory term usually used for non-Muslims), Jews are enemies of Islam, and both are liable to death for no other reason. Even today the same is the first, most important and basic message from uniformed Army teachers which is that we have to respect guns and bombs because we have to use these against Hindu mothers to kill them otherwise they will give birth to a Hindu child,” Mengal said in his speech.
“This sort of hatred is being taught in Pakistani schools, madrasas at every level even today. And all this is a basic part of the education syllabus. Religious fanatic groups and terrorist organisations have been declared and announced as state strategic assets,” he stressed further.
That most of the madrasas in Pakistan no longer teach sacred laws or other Islamic subjects and are instead busy churning out extremists is known to the entire world. State- and military-run schools, as revealed by Mengal, too have been running the well-funded, sophisticated propaganda for decades with teachers educated at madrasas radicalizing the next generation gradually. A few months ago, the Punjab province had declared that no university will award a degree unless a student has attended the required ‘Quran with translation’ classes.
Any student or teacher who tries to protest or express his opinion is accused of committing blasphemy. Last year, a Pakistani court sentenced the 33-year-old university lecturer Junaid Hafeez to death for blasphemy. A Fulbright scholar, Hafeez was arrested in March 2013 and accused of posting liberal comments on social media. His lawyer was shot dead a year after his arrest. The Pakistani establishment is doing anything and everything to achieve its vicious objectives.
“Blasphemy law is being used systematically to punish the highly vulnerable sects of the societies, particularly religious minorities, and is being used as a high tool for discrimination. Labeling someone with blasphemy, punishing the whole community, and extra-judicially killing the alleged person, killing of any one who spoke out against the misuse of Blasphemy law, are considered as acts of heroism in Pakistan,” Mengal told the UN Working Group.
He explained in detail how Pakistan is “systematically” eliminating the original identities of its minorities, including the Baloch community.
“Just analyze what tools the state is using: books are barred in Balochistan. Reading and writing in mother tongue is barred. Anyone who practices his culture and belief is called a traitor. It means denying them humanity and suffocating the society. Right to education, right to health facilities, economic and job rights are far from thought. In such cases, judiciary becomes irrelevant and impunity prevails in every aspect of life,” he said.
The ‘Pakistan-occupied Balochistan’ has already seen enough death and destruction over the past two decades. But there is more torture in store for the Balochs with China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) inflicting unrepairable damage in the region, both materially and emotionally. The locals have labeled such ‘game changer’ projects as tactics to gain strategic depth, dominate and ultimately eliminate communities already reeling from the state-sponsored atrocities.
“In reality this (CPEC) is a high sign of neo-colonization and expansionism. It is being done without the consent of local people. A large number has been displaced forcibly. There are no jobs for local Baloch people, even no drinking water. However, you can see unimaginable facilities for the Chinese people. Just imagine the current population of Gwadar is 80,000 and under CPEC there are plans to bring at least 500,000 Chinese people. This sort of altering demography means completely eliminating the Baloch race from that area,” elaborated Mengal while urging the United Nations to hold Pakistan accountable for the bloodbath of minorities in the mineral-rich area.
But how would the UN act? Or, let’s put it this way: Is the organization really willing to act? It has just given Pakistan more power to continue with its hate campaigns and genocidal operations from Gilgit to Gwadar by re-electing it to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) earlier this week. Much of the world is still in disbelief.