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HRCP condemns 'racial profiling' of Pashtuns by Punjab govt officials

Updated Feb 27, 2017 09:49pm


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The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Monday flayed Punjab government officials for the "apparent racial profiling" and "stereotyping" of Pashtuns in the province as authorities step up a crackdown against militancy after a recent surge in terror attacks across the country.

An HRCP press release said administrative officials in some Punjab districts had issued formal or informal orders "asking the population to keep an eye on suspicious individuals who look like Pashtuns or are from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, and to report any suspicious activity by them."

The HRCP, expressing 'grave concern' over the matter, called for unequivocal condemnation of "stereotyping that makes suspects of an entire ethnic group" and emphasised the need for corrective measures to be introduced for officials at the training and execution stages in order to prevent recurrence of 'racial profiling'.

"Safeguards must be announced to protect individuals from harassment or being treated as suspects because of the their appearance or facial features," the statement added.

It can be inferred that Punjab authorities believe that terrorism and militancy have been perpetrated by 'outsiders', the HRCP statement claimed.

"There are many problems with such an assertion, not least that it treats citizens with suspicion without evidence and flies in the face of the guarantee for equality of citizens and non-discrimination."

Additionally, among the consequences of "such offensive profiling is that it treats parts of population above suspicion because of ethnic identity markers".

"No longer can we live in the state of denial," the HRCP said, adding that "only across-the-board targeting of suspects can yield results."

"If the dimensions of terrorism and militancy have taught us anything, it is that domiciles do not curb the spread of their tentacles."

The HRCP's statement comes as leaders of various political parties also strongly condemn what they call the racial profiling and harassment of Pashtuns by the Punjab police after recent terror attacks across the country, and particularly in Lahore.

Know more: KP politicians slam ‘racial profiling’ of Pakhtuns in Punjab

Following a suicide attack on Lahore's Mall Road on Feb 13 which claimed the lives of at least six police officials, Punjab’s law enforcement agencies launched a province-wide crackdown on banned militant organisations.

Days after the attack, the Provincial Intelligence Centre of the Punjab Home Department issued a letter directing police high-ups to tighten security in different cities of the province.

"Combing operations [must] be conducted in all targeted areas, particularly where the Afghan/Pathan community is residing," the letter read as the Home Department instructed law enforcement agencies to ensure extreme vigilance.

Last week, police in the Rawalpindi division also began surveillance of people belonging to Fata and considered issuing them chip-based national identity cards equipped with security features.

A senior police official had told Dawn that strict surveillance of more than 5,400 people belonging to the tribal areas and living in the Rawalpindi division had begun. He said police were also considering containing them to a specific place so that they could be watched.

The Punjab Apex Committee, during a meeting in Lahore on Sunday, decided to expand the scope of the recently launched military operation Raddul Fasaad targeting terrorists, their facilitators and financiers. Ongoing counterterrorism operations by civil and military law enforcement agencies have resolved to root out terrorism, extremism and sectarianism

Participants of the meeting were told that over 100 suspects had been taken into custody in just one day (Sunday) from different parts of the province.

Explore: Tracking the footprints: All roads lead to South Punjab

'Intensify crackdown against illegal immigrants'

Sindh police chief A.D. Khawaja in a high-level huddle today also directed law enforcement officials to intensify a crackdown against illegal immigrants living in the province, ordering them to submit reports on a daily basis via WhatsApp, an instant messaging mobile application.

Read more: Asfandyar deplores racial profiling of Pakhtuns

The inspector general police also ordered deployment of law enforcement officials at airports, bus terminals and train stations, mosques, imambargahs, madressahs, shrines and tombs as well as schools, colleges and universities.

IGP Khawaja also called for tighter security across all government buildings and sensitive installations.


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Comments (40) Closed

BROTHER FROM KARACHI Feb 27, 2017 09:30pm

Ohh we know that for decades. Brother from Karachi!

Musleh Uddin Ahmad Feb 27, 2017 09:27pm

Who-so-ever conceived and floated this idea of Pashtoun profiling must be first investigated for his connections and linkage. The idea smells anti Pakistan.

Karachiuj Feb 27, 2017 09:31pm

Hrcp is a joke. What they have done till now.

Abdulla Hussain Feb 27, 2017 09:32pm

This is not a good example, yesterday I heard JI chief complaining about it. On the one hand it is true that most of the suicide bombers comes from a section but this in no way mean that all others are to be feared. This thinking against a section must be discouraged through government statement and full media campaign

SadFaces Feb 27, 2017 09:34pm

They should also point out racially motivated acts against Urdu speaking people as well.

Naxalite Feb 27, 2017 09:32pm

I am a Punjabi and i oppose this profiling. We are united. Long Live Pakistan.

Ahmed bin Babar Feb 27, 2017 09:43pm

Mere stupidity as Pashtuns are the vanguard in fight against the terrorism..!

Picasso Feb 27, 2017 09:41pm

A very issue indeed now a days.. This is the racial descrimination in fact which leads to extremism..

Ali Feb 27, 2017 09:45pm

I am Pakistani first and Punjabi later. I condemn Punjab government officials for issuing such statements.

SC Feb 27, 2017 09:48pm

This is definitely a wrong step by the Punjab government, and it will only promote more ethnic discord without making Punjab safer. Everyone no matter what ethnic background is Pakistani. They all should have equal rights in every province. The people of FATA have been suffering for a longtime, they need to be better integrated into the mainstream rather than marginalized. FATA should either join KPK or become its own province. A country will only prosper if it treats all of its citizens fairly and gives them equal rights.

anony Feb 27, 2017 09:48pm

I am a proud Pashtun. Long live Pakistan.

A. Rashid Feb 27, 2017 10:05pm

Very timely warning and must be paid due attention by responsible authorities.The combing should be intelligence based and not ethnic based. Sweeping with wide brush could be detrimental for the country.

Raweedullah Feb 27, 2017 10:08pm

Trust me these recent activities of Punjab Police have really affected inter provisional harmony.

Khanm Feb 27, 2017 10:10pm

Why going too far ..racial profiling is been there since decades..Racial profiling punishes innocent individuals for the past actions of those who look and sound like them. It misdirects crucial resources and undercuts the trust needed between law enforcement and the communities they serve. It has no place in our national discourse, and no place in our nation's police place in any one's mind..The last sermon of our prophet is a universal constitution ..No white is superior to Arab is better than ajmi...In the eyes of God the one most loved is one with takwa..

Nasir Hameed Feb 27, 2017 10:15pm

Pashtuns are patriotic Pakistanis. Unfortunately Afghans look like them and hence hide among them. I hope the people of Pakistan understand that unity among our selves is extremely important and enemy will try to create differences and pit us against each other.

Sarwar, USA. Feb 27, 2017 10:17pm

No racial profiling... but sadly Afghans hide and look like Pashtuns. There should be mechanism to separate both. Sending Afghans back will help solve this problem.

Ali Feb 27, 2017 10:18pm

There are many trumps here.

paggri sambhal Feb 27, 2017 10:38pm

I m no fan of Nawaz or Shahbaz but this directive is simply fair.

Ijaz Feb 27, 2017 11:01pm

How can we as Pakistanis or Muslims complain about racial profiling and unfair treatment in Europe and USA, when we undertake this disgraceful activity in our own country and against our own fellow citizens?

Absolutely deplorable state of affairs. We should hang our heads in shame.

DR.Shamir Baloch Feb 27, 2017 11:07pm

Racial profiling and stereotyping of specific ethnic group, in this case Pashtuns will result in deep resentment by the group and dangerous for cohesion and cordial hormony of already divided and fractious nation, and should be avoided as much as possible.Only those be targated whos are involved in criminality and terrorism.

Arshad Feb 27, 2017 11:10pm

Is a plot getting ready to repeat 1971 incident ?

Javed Arshad Feb 27, 2017 11:40pm

If it is the case Punjab Govt must investigate and take immediate action against those responsible.

Realist Feb 28, 2017 12:26am

This is insane. The same party begs for vote in Ko in election days is now busy profiling them. They forgot pushtoons were the Frontline in Kargil ahead of our military might

Sameer Feb 28, 2017 12:48am

Dirty tactics to shift blame of self incompetence by racially profiling another province.

Sunny Feb 28, 2017 12:51am

Unbelievable! and we blame Trump in America. What a shame.

Gohar Feb 28, 2017 12:56am

I dont agree with racial profiling especially against Pashtuns.

Sanzer Feb 28, 2017 01:06am

Now the common response to this will be "Its time for us to unite and ignore our differences".

IRSIRs Feb 28, 2017 01:44am

Agreed. This should be openly condemned. I am a Pakistani and ethnically Punjabi, whatever that means. This should be discouraged also in the case of discrimination against the Afghans. Because a few are causing trouble does NOT mean that you label them all bad and put them in concentration camps.

Zee Feb 28, 2017 02:47am

Another govt failure to integrate all ethnic groups in national stream and make the federation progress as one nation. This could be beginning of another era and effects of which will be hard to rectify for long. Sorry state of Pakistan.

Naveed Jafri Feb 28, 2017 03:05am

HRCP did you ever condemned killing of innocent people in Pakistan by Terrorist?

GULAB KHAN Feb 28, 2017 04:04am

Why are you so quite?

We all are criticizing Donald Trump on racial profiling against Muslims, illegal immigrants etc.

But what is happening in our won Muslim motherland.

option Feb 28, 2017 04:09am

This racial profiling has been going on against the urdu speakers Pakistan for decades and there was no one to speak against that!

ahmad Feb 28, 2017 06:32am

they are fueling more people to terrorism, dont marginalize these people who are already marginalized, they will join the ranks of militants. for God sake someone make sense to govt.

AD Feb 28, 2017 06:52am

And in the same breath they accuse USA of racial profiling .

Jan Feb 28, 2017 08:57am

This is good that it is highlighted by the Media today.The attitude of Punjab Police dealing with pukhtun has been always a problem.when ever I am coming from Peshawar to wah cantt and Islamabad some time the time i reach Burhan interchange police search my car from head to toe that's good we appreciate but when they don't find any thing illegal then asking for bribe because i am pukhtun coming from they deal with the ordinary pukhtun is unthinkable. Punjabism is the greatest threat to the integrity of the county

Really Feb 28, 2017 09:12am

What's new here.

Chris Roberts Feb 28, 2017 09:23am

Please be very, very cautious and consider the consequences of racial profiling. In Canada and the United States, Black people are frequently targeted and are the victims of police brutality. Black people are often suspect if they are seen driving expensive cars and are stopped by police for questioning, and they also can be followed around in stores by staff or security personnel. There are also instances of white women being asked if everything is okay simpl

Nazli Feb 28, 2017 03:44pm

Sounds familiar? It's like passengers on board of a US aircraft complaining that a certain passenger looks like a Muslim and will be dangerous.

Being racially profiled in your own country is a sign of bad times for everyone. Authorities can't implement law and order and try to take public attention away from their inefficiencies by pitching one citizen against the other.

Nazli Feb 28, 2017 03:47pm

@Really New is that racial profiling is now legal.

really Feb 28, 2017 08:38pm

@Nazli. This is just an official confirmation of what has been happening for a long time. I have noticed many Punjabis making silly jokes about pathans and this is considered kosher by many. And I am talking about educated people from Punjab settles in USA doing it over and over again. However the irony is that these same group of people were the most hurt by Trump`s statement against Muslims in USA. Sadly what goes around, comes around