KARACHI- Expressing concerns over the increasing trend of extremism, human rights and civil society activists, lawyers and political workers demanded a full-scale operation against terrorists to cleanse militants from the ‘No-go’ areas in all parts of the country.
Justice (r) Rasheed A Razvi, architect Arif Hasan, Karamat Ali from Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER), Baela Raza Jamil from Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA), Citizens-Police Liaison Committee former chief Nazim Haji, human rights activist Muneer Memon, Sheema Kermani from Tehrik-e-Niswan, Anwer Hussain Jafri, Dr Farzana Bari, Muhammad Ali Shah, Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum Chairman Fahim Zaman Khan and others issued their join statement on Friday.
They deplored the recent surge in extremism. “In the past one month, terrorist elements have attacked polio workers, targeted a specific sect in Balochistan, sent suicide bombers to kill schoolchildren, attacked media workers and even brutally killed military personnel, law enforcers and police,” they held.
These assaults claimed over 210 deaths, more than half of these were civilians. The list of the injured was equally high, while the state of insecurity among the citizens remained grave and critical, they added.
“Unfortunately, it seems that the government stays indifferent and is much hesitant to take any firm action against the culprits, who fearlessly claim the responsibility of every gory act of terrorism minutes after executing these actions,” they maintained. They said that the government was not serious in establishing its writ across the country.
The unwillingness of government to launch a military operation was proving fatal for the citizens, they said, adding that the government was promoting a specific narrative of holding talks through a group of religious-political leaders, while the terrorists intensified their activities. They condemned the policy of holding terrorist forces as strategic assets to be used to gain advantage in the regional equation vis-à-vis our neighbours.
“A sizeable chunk of the country’s budget is earmarked for security every year. This not only burdens the tax payer, but also dents the development of the country pushing the poverty reduction measures down the priority list of the state. This has social and economic implications that are evident in the form of malnutrition, absence of assets, lack of shelter, denial of healthcare and education.
“If the people continue to remain at the mercy of the militants, despite paying such a heavy price for their security, then the entire resource distribution order, including the ideology behind it, needs to be revisited,” they held.
“Violence has become part of our society, while religious extremism has brought country on the verge of collapse,” said sociologist and criminologist Prof Fateh Burfat.