The community of Pashtuns living in Europe hopes that, by sharing the images and stories of the persecution they face simply for still existing on their homelands, the international community—and the UN in particular—will finally give the issue the attention it requires.
As one of the world’s largest tribal communities, the Pashtun of Afghanistan and Pakistan have a rich history and culture extending thousands of years into the past. Afghanistan’s Kandahar, Jalalabad, and Lashkar Gah cities and Pakistan’s Peshawar and Quetta represent vibrant, bustling centres of Pashtun culture.
But in these days, the situation of the Pashtuns meets the genocide criteria very easily. Pashtun people on both sides are not only dying because of Pakistan’s security policy in the region but their culture, language, traditions, and even identity faces an onslaught in this country. The media, especially the Urdu media, has been very negative in its stereotyping of the Pashtun community living in Pakistan. Its demonisation and generalisation of the Pashtuns has left them at a loss for their identity; they have been forced to ask whether they can actually call Pakistan home.
A perception is created among the urbanite middle class of Pakistan that Pashtuns are cultural savages—backward and unable to assimilate into the mainstream culture. They are ridiculed in dramas, humour-based shows, and morning programmes, and their stigmatisation is a routine occurrence on Pakistani TV channels and newspapers. Pashtuns have been alienated so much that they feel like strangers in their own country. They feel disconnected in this connected world, despairing as they watch others build and realise their potential and curiosity.
Clinging fiercely to both their traditions and their right to self-determination and autonomy, the Pashtuns have for centuries been thrust into the middle of various conflicts between the Pakistani government and terrorist groups like the Taliban. Caught in the crossfire of opposed political agendas, the Pashtuns have frequently been treated as mere collateral damage. For this reason, the symbolism of the #StopPashtunGenocide campaign organised outside the UN buildings in Geneva is strategic. To whom should the Pashtun community across Europe petition for the protection of their Pashtun brothers and sisters in Pakistan if not the UN? And what good is it if the most powerful and influential institutions in the world cannot even safeguard the most basic rights of the people their mandates claim to cover?
The right to life and security is the principle that forms the bedrock for all of the UN’s initiatives. Without clear and definitive action from the UN against the Pakistani government, the Pashtun people will continue to suffer under Islamabad’s brutal and prejudiced agenda. The UN and the rest of the international community must utilise their diplomatic resources to stop Pakistan’s genocide of the Pashtun people once and for all.
Credit : https://4newsagency.com/