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WSC urges G7 to take action against rights abuses in Pak

16 Jun 2021

London [UK], June 16 (ANI): As the much-coveted Group of Seven (G7) concluded recently, the World Sindhi Congress (WSC) has urged world leaders of the summit to take action against ongoing grave human rights atrocities against Sindhi people in Pakistan.

In a memorandum to G7 leaders on Saturday, the groups said that hundreds of political leaders and workers, civil society and human rights degenders, intellectuals and writers have been illegally arrested without warrants at the beginning of June, while cases have been registered against at least 10,000 people.

The Sindhi Congress requested to the heads of G7 countries to stop gross violations of human rights of Sindhi people, observe and respect the international rule of law and international human rights standards and commitments, pursue an International Enquiry into the human rights violations.

They also requested that aid to Pakistan should be conditioned so that Pakistan must demonstrate its commitment to human rights and the observation of international law according to the UN charter.

"This appalling attack is in response to the democratic struggle of a united front of Sindhi political parties against Bahria Town and other illegal land grabbing schemes coveting hundreds of thousands of acres of the most valuable lands of Sindhi people by the Pakistani army, their proxies, and political cronies. Sadly, the indigenous people living there for centuries have been forcibly evicted and witnessed their communities destroyed and thrown into permanent displacement and poverty," said Dr Rubina Greenwood, Chair of WSC.

Highlighting that the Pakistani Army, its proxies and political associates have already snatched millions of acres of agricultural, residential and coastal lands of Sindhi people, the human rights groups alleged that the Pakistani state is forcefully and illegally pursuing a policy of stopping water upstream using various dams and canals.

They also said that the mega water projects proposed and built by Pakistan are in contravention to international laws, agreements and conventions on climate change, sustainable development, biodiversity, cultural preservation and desertification and the water accords among the constituents of Pakistan and are also grave violations of the human rights of Sindhi people.

"Together with China under CPEC (the China Pak Economic Corridor), the state of Pakistan is occupying islands and coastal and agricultural lands. The state of Pakistan is also occupying lands to develop infrastructure to give fast access to China without any due concern for the environment or the people," the WSC said in its memorandum.

"Sindh has 71 per cent of the gas fields in Pakistan, 62 per cent of the oil of Pakistan, and one of the largest coal deposits in the world, accounting for 99 per cent of Pakistan's total coal reserves (worth an estimated USD 23 trillion). However, Sindh only receives 11 per cent of federal funding and more than 70 per cent of people of Sindh face multidimensional poverty and malnutrition," wrote Greenwood.

Focusing on extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances of Sindhi activists, the WSC said that the security agencies' modus-operandi abduct, torture, and hold the activists incommunicado for as long as they see fit.

"Almost all eyewitnesses to these disappearances have indicated that the perpetrators seem to be official security personnel - i.e., rangers, police, and intelligence agencies. The government denies all claims of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings, and there is no recourseavailable within the judicial system, allowing the agencies to continue to act with impunity," read the memorandum.

According to the WSC, an estimated 500 Sindhi political dissenters and human rights activists have been forcibly disappeared in Pakistan, 20 of which have occurred last year alone.

On forced conversions and kidnappings of Sindhi Hindus, the groups said: "Sindhi Hindus face increasingly targeted discrimination and violence, including kidnappings for extortion, the abductions and forced conversions of Hindu girls, and forced servitude. The increasing violence has resulted in the exodus of the Hindu population out of Pakistan. On average, 20 cases per month are reported of Hindu girls, most of whom are under the age of 16, being forcibly abducted and converted. In most instances, these girls were then forcibly married off or kept in the custody of their kidnappers."Meanwhile, claiming a systematic genocide in Balochistan by Pakistani security forces, the Baloch Human Rights Council (BHRC) had urged the G7 leaders to investigate the heinous crimes by Pakistan in the region.

In a memorandum addressed to the G7 leaders, the Council urged them to send a UN fact-finding mission to investigate the extra-judicial killings and mass disappearances of the Baloch political and social activists. They also urged that the perpetrators of the heinous crimes against humanity in Balochistan should be brought to justice by initiating cases against them in the international court of justice in The Hague. (ANI)

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