Messy politics and human rights in Pakistan

Recently, US Congressman Brad Sherman has raised concerns over the alleged violation of human rights and democracy in Pakistan and called on the government to ensure freedom of speech and the rule of law in the country. Standing alongside Pakistani American Democrat leader, American Congressman not only expressed concerns over the violation of human rights and freedom of media but categorically discussed the alleged custodial torture and sexual abuse of PTI leaders Shahbaz Gill and Azam Swati. He also mentioned the death of PTI worker Zill-e-Shah, journalist Arshad Sharif and the government crackdown on the PTI rally on March 8. According to Brad Sherman, he did not support Imran Khan but he advocates human rights everywhere in Pakistan and across the globe.

The PTI-PDM political brawl has made its triumph everywhere across the globe. Anti-Nawaz sloganeering which had been customary in London and Bradford has now reached California and Metropolitan Washington DC. Whether it was the outcome of PTI supporters’ lobbying campaign or the fringe benefit of PTI’s hired gun Fenton/Arlock LLC that an outspoken US Congressman and longstanding critic of Pakistan, had pronounced a brief verdict in favor of the PTI and censured the coalition government for its manhandling of human rights and civil liberties. Interestingly, the American Congressman made a telephone call with PTI Chairman and former Prime Minister Imran Khan before issuing a statement to the media. Although such statements are of political nature and not binding by the law yet they serve as an image-building and reference for global human rights organizations and rating agencies in the world.

Realistically, media and civil rights had been the continuous target of the coalition government over the past year. The state significantly worked to curb media freedom by adding more repressive provisions in the PECA law, reducing space for sane criticism by Intelligentsia along with introducing multiple laws to protect the so-called sanctity of the institutions. Meanwhile, the coercion and intimidation of the journalists remained an undying fact, while several journalists had been arrested, and trialed under multipurpose laws. Thus, civil liberties and citizens’ right to information became decoration pieces in the Parliament’s gallery. In fact, excessive use of administrative provisions and unjust protection of blued eyes seriously damaged the narrative of multiparty government and caused differences among the allies. The opposition took advantage of this situation and tried to elude justice in genuine cases of corruption, and misconduct in government affairs in the past.

On these pages, we categorically condemned the government’s ban on Imran Khan’s speech and license revocation of ARY News Channel by the coalition government and exclusively mentioned that the court will turn down the PEMRA actions which clearly contradict the fundamental rights and media freedoms. The same happened within the next few days. In fact, the country, the public, and politics are not an heirloom of any particular person or party but it is divine service that bestows by the nature through fortune and public work. Despite multiple flaws and shortcomings, it has been the legacy of the American people that they commonly preach and support global values such as truth, human rights, democracy, and civil freedoms not only in their country but across the world and thus leading the world so far. As, if our nation adopts those divine values, no power can defeat Pakistan in the race for great power.