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Pakistan: Civil Society Demands Decisive Action Against Terrorism

27 January 2014

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Civil Society Demands Decisive Action Against Terrorism

We, the members of the civil society of Pakistan, express our serious concern over the surge in the acts of terrorism in different parts of the country in the course of the last few days. In the last one month alone, terrorist elements have attacked polio workers, targeted, yet again, the believers of a specific sect in Balochistan, sent suicide bombers to kill school children, attacked media workers and even brutally killed military personnel, law enforcers and police.

These terrorist assaults, since the beginning of the year alone, have caused over 210 deaths, more than half of these being civilians. The list of the injured is equally high, while the state of insecurity among the citizens remains grave and critical.

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.

It is obvious; the government is absolutely non-serious in addressing the issue of terrorism and in establishing its own writ across the country. Its unwillingness to counter the militants on the pretext of “an absence of a consensus” and “political ownership” for a military operation is proving fatal for the citizens. The government is promoting a specific narrative of holding dialogue through a group of religious-political leaders, while the terrorists continue to intensify their activities against the citizens. All attempts at “dialogue” in the past have failed miserably as the non-state party has always sought to violate the terms, and fearlessly carried on its terrorist mission.

We also condemn the policy of holding terrorist forces as strategic assets to be used to gain advantage in the regional equation vis-à-vis our neighbours. The ugly backlash of this policy is being borne by the citizens in the form of daily acts of terrorism, economic downturn, social discontent and murder of family relatives and friends. The state’s absolute reluctance in nabbing the terrorists from the organizations that have been banned by the state itself, unfortunately, indicates its complicity in the killing of its citizens.

A sizeable chunk of the country’s budget is devoted to the cause of security every year. This not only burdens the tax payer, it 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, thereby compromising the right to decent life of our citizens. If the people of Pakistan 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.

We believe it is high time a full-scale operation is launched to cleanse the militants from the “no-go” areas in all parts of the country. Unless a decisive military action is taken there will be no respite from the terrorist attacks against citizens being witnessed every day. We also demand that there be no distinction between the “good” and the “bad” terrorists, and the old and the new outfits that have been banned by the state (but operate under a different name now). The so-called strategic assets path, adhered to by the state for decades, must be abandoned without delay. It is the obligation of the state to protect the citizens of the country. There is no need for any ambiguity in acting against any individual or group that seeks to harm the citizens or disrupt the peace and law and order of the country.

Following have endorsed the above statement (names are in alphabetical order):
· Adam Malik, human rights and peace activist
· Anwer Hussain Jafri,Tehrik-e-Niswan
· Arif Hasan, architect and Urban Resource Centre
· B. M. Kutty, Secretary General, Pakistan Peace Coalition (PPC)
· Babar Ayaz, senior journalist, columnist
· Baela Raza Jamil, Idara-e-Taleem-o_Aagahi (ITA)
· Dr. A. H. Nayyar, nuclear physicist
· Dr. Akmal Hussain, Distinguished Professor of Economics, F.C College, University Lahore
· Dr. Farzana Bari, human rights activist
· Dr. Riaz Ahmed Shaikh, Head of Social Sciences, Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science & Technology (SZABIST)
· Dr. Sono Khangharani, Hisar Foundation
· Fahim Zaman Khan, Citizens for Democracy
· Ghaffar Malik, Sindh Development Society (SDS)
· Iqbal Alavi, human rights activist
· Irfan Mufti, SAP Pakistan
· Jami Chandio, Centre for Peace and Civil Society (CPCS)
· Justice (Retd.) Rasheed A. Razvi, senior lawyer
· Karamat Ali, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER)
· Khalid Mahmood, Labour Education Foundation
· Mahar Safdar Ali, Bonded Labour Liberation Front Pakistan
· Muhammad Ali Shah, Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum
· Muhammad Tahseen, SAP Pakistan
· Munaza Hashmi, EHD Multan
· Muneer Memon, human rights activist
· Muqtida Ali Khan, Irtiqa Institute of Social Sciences
· Musavir Naqvi, senior trade union leader
· Naghma Iqtidar, youth leader
· Najma Sadeque, Green Economics Initiative Shirkat Gah
· Naseer A. Memon, human rights activist and writer
· Nasir Mansoor, National Trade Unions Federation
· Nazim Haji, former Chief, Citizens-Police Liaison Committee
· Noor Mohammad, senior trade union leader
· Qamar Hayat Khan, Sahara Development Foundation
· Sabeen Mahmud, PeaceNiche
· Sadiqa Salahuddin, Indus Resource Centre
· Salam Dharejo, social activist
· Saleha Athar, Network for Women’s Rights
· Shaheen Salahuddin, journalist, TV anchor
· Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, documentary films maker
· Sheema Kermani, Tehrik-e-Niswan
· Sheen Farrukh, Inter-Press Communication
· Suleman G. Abro, SAFWCO
· Syeda Ghulam Fatima, Bonded Labour Liberation Front Pakistan
· Tasneem Ahmad Siddiqui, Saiban - Action Research for Shelter
· Ume Laila Azhar, Home Net Pakistan
· Zahida Detho, Sindh Rural Partners Organisation
· Zeenia Shaukat, PILER
· Zohra Yusuf, Chairperson, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan
· Zubeida Mustafa, senior journalist
· Zulfiqar Halepoto Pakistan Civil Society Forum
· Zulfiqar Shah, PILER

Released by:
Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER)