July 3rd, 2021
By Rehan Piracha
The martyrdom of late senator Usman Kakar has raised awareness among the masses to continue their struggle against exploitation in the country, Afrasiab Khattak, former chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, told participants of a memorial reference for the late senator from Balochistan.
Khattak said the forces behind the murder of Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party leader wanted to demoralise people struggling for their rights. He said people from far-flung areas in Balochistan came to attend the funeral. “However, the massive turnout of hundreds of thousands at Kakar’s funeral proved that people were not demoralized and instead, these anti-people forces are now demoralized themselves,” he said.
He said the system has been laid bare as there was an unannounced martial law in the country. “There are no courts, no administration but just a martial law in the country,” he said. Khattak said hundreds of thousands came out to attend Kakar’s funeral despite a media blackout. “Can a blackout occur without any instructions?,” he said.
Referring to the recently-held security briefing to the parliamentary committee, Khattak said it was odd that government officials were now telling elected members and parliamentarians what to do in face of security threats to the country. He said that it was result of the political parties becoming very weak. “The representatives of political parties in the Parliament should be telling State officials instead to bring back all those, including Gen Musharraf, who had abrogated the Constitution,” Khattak said.
The former HRCP chairperson pointed out that 80pc of resources of the State were spent on defence, debt servicing and administration. “The present state of affairs will continue for the next 500 years if we don’t bring back control to people, the true owners of this country,” he said.
Khattak said the real power of a country lies in the unity and solidarity of its people. “Countries are not defended by tanks and fighter jets but by the power and unity of their people,” he added. He said that as long as there were people like Usman Kakar amongst them, the struggle against exploitation and injustice would continue in the country.
Khattak said he began his struggle against injustice and exploitation in the times of Gen Ayub Khan. “In 1971, I was part of a demonstration in Lahore against the launch of the operation in East Pakistan,” he recalled. He said students from Punjab, Balochistan, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa participated in the demonstration addressed by poet Habib Jalib and Tahira Mazhar Ali. “We warned that the operation could lead to the breakup of the country which proved true,” Khattak said.
He said the real fact was that the Establishment had never been held accountable for its actions. “The Hamoodur Rehman Commission report on the secession of East Pakistan has not made public until now,” he pointed out.
He said thousands of victims faced enforced disappearance in the country. “Now, leaders from Balochistan Awami Party are told to seek votes by promising families of missing persons that their loved ones will return home,” Khattak said. “Such tactics won’t work as a state or government could not function like that,” he added.
Khattak he was happy to see a change in Punjab as progressive forces were coming together against the military establishment. He said the country could not function without a Constitution. “We won’t accept any unconstitutional system in the country, If you follow the law, we all will go along,” he added.
Afrasiab Khattak was also said the late senator had frequently spoken about the repercussions of Pakistani involvement in the Afghan war. “Kakar clearly spoke against sending Taliban militia in Afghanistan and not to be part of fighting there,” he said, warning that the American withdrawal from Afghanistan will again bring in a big war home.