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Sunday, November 26, 2023

Int’l academics raise concern over Pakistani govt’s ‘fascism’

In an open letter, academics from international universities urged Pakistan's incumbent government to adhere to and ensure basic human rights. Renowned Professor Noam Chomsky was also one of the signatories.

Academics from international universities have raised concerns over human rights violations by the PML-N government. They have expressed their apprehension in an open letter.

OP Voters, which is a Twitter platform representing Overseas Pakistanis, shared the letter signed by the university academics from Pakistan, the USA, UK, Australia, France, and Canada. It also tagged Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations Human Rights Chief.

“We are a group of academics who are deeply concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in Pakistan,” the open letter stated. It then highlighted the events that took place in Pakistan recently, for e.g; the arrest of common citizens for social media posts. To clarify, in the recent past, many reports emerged on social media of the Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) making arrests.

Read more: Senior anchor Arshad Sharif illegally detained by FIA

“These troubling developments violate the minimal requirements of a democratic government, fundamental freedoms under the Constitution of Pakistan, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” the letter added.

“We strongly urge the relevant authorities in Pakistan to adhere to and ensure basic human rights including the right to freedom of opinion, and expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, and freedom of religion or belief,” it further said.

Famed Professor Noam Chomsky was also one of the signatories. Pertinent to mention, each academic independently endorsed the letter.

Human rights violations in Pakistan

Lately, the Shehbaz Sharif government has received a lot of criticism for its actions which are being termed “fascism” by PTI and its supporters. Earlier this week, the Punjab Police launched a crackdown against PTI leaders which sparked outrage on social media.

Ahead of Imran Khan’s Azadi March, police raided the homes of PTI leaders and workers, for instance, former minister Hammad Azhar. Prior to this, Punjab’s anti-corruption department took former human rights minister Shireen Mazari into custody in Islamabad.

Read more: Pakistanis urge Gen Bajwa to take action on police crackdown against PTI leaders

Moreover, during Wednesday’s Azadi March, the police resorted to shelling and baton charges against the public. Islamabad’s D-Chowk turned into a battleground. Pakistan witnessed horrible scenes of violence during that time.