Chaudhry Nisar unbound

Published June 9, 2015
Nisar Ali Khan’s penchant for wading into areas beyond the scope of his ministry has manifested itself again. —APP/File
Nisar Ali Khan’s penchant for wading into areas beyond the scope of his ministry has manifested itself again. —APP/File

INTERIOR Minister Nisar Ali Khan’s penchant for wading into areas beyond the scope of his ministry has manifested itself again.

In a statement issued last Saturday, he expressed the hope that the government would take proactive measures to help the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

He also denounced the inaction of the international community and “the criminal silence” of human rights organisations worldwide over the victimisation of the beleaguered community which he believed would further fuel extremism among Muslim youth.

Take a look: Myanmar’s abandoned Rohingya — Asia’s pariah people

Singling out Muslim countries, he said that the lack of effort to mitigate the Rohingyas’ plight or to plead their case spoke “volumes for our apathy and indifferent attitude towards our fellow brethren.…” Indeed, the Rohingyas of Myanmar are a persecuted community.

Not only do they live under pitiable economic conditions, they also face animosity from a large section of Myanmar society on account of the Buddhist-Muslim divide.

In effect stateless, as Myanmar denies them citizenship, thousands of Rohingyas have attempted to leave for safer shores, only to be rejected by other countries too.

However, in order to be taken seriously, Pakistan’s protest should come solely from the relevant official quarters, and not from the interior minister who has been straying into purely foreign policy matters at a fairly consistent rate.

Last month, he expressed his disappointment at the death penalty awarded to former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, while in late 2013, he spoke of “old wounds” being reopened when Bangladesh executed Abdul Quader Molla, a leader of the Jamaat-i-Islami party in that country — his manner was in direct contrast to the foreign ministry’s mild comment at the time.

Chaudhry Nisar would do well to restrain himself and keep to his portfolio when he speaks in a public capacity. And he should also remember that, contrary to his stance, there has been, in recent times, extensive coverage about the Rohingyas’ victimisation in the global media and a rising crescendo of voices in the international community — particularly the West — and from human rights organisations demanding that the issue be resolved without delay.

Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2015

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