PTI demands UN to probe ‘state excesses, human rights violations’ during ‘Azadi March’


Police use tear gas to disperse activists of the PTI, the party of ousted prime minister Imran Khan, during a protest in Lahore on May 25, 2022. — AFP
Police use tear gas to disperse activists of the PTI, the party of ousted prime minister Imran Khan, during a protest in Lahore on May 25, 2022. — AFP
  • Letter informs UN of “repressive measures” taken by the government against “Azadi March”.
  • PTI informs UN that Pakistan has been engulfed in a “political crisis” since ouster of Imran Khan. 
  • PTI demands independent, impartial investigation into state excesses, human rights violations.

ISLAMABAD: The PTI on Wednesday demanded the United Nations (UN) to hold an “independent and impartial investigation” into the “state excesses and human rights violations” during the party’s “Azadi March”.

The letter was written by former human rights minister Shireen Mazari to the relevant UN officials regarding the media censorship and violence during the “Azadi March” on May 24-25.

In the letter, Mazari told the UN officials that Pakistan has been engulfed in a “political crisis” since the ouster of Imran Khan from the prime minister’s office. She added that there has been public anger “reflected in huge rallies” after the Imran Khan-led government was ousted through a “regime change scheme”. 

The former human rights minister also shared that the PTI government was replaced by a politician who is “involved in multiple money laundering cases and is out on bail”.

PTI demands UN to probe state excesses, human rights violations during Azadi March

The letter stated that the government “backed by the establishment” had taken “repressive measures” against the “Azadi march”.

The UN was also told that the and federal government began a crackdown against the PTI workers and leaders in Sindh and Punjab that were “supported by rangers”.

Talking about the raids by the government, the former minister wrote that the government violated human rights and “used force against unarmed and peaceful civilians in Punjab, Sindh and Islamabad”.

Rubber bullets and tear gas were used and the roads and transportation were blocked, said the letter, adding that the law enforcement agencies broke the vehicles of the party workers and attacked them and later registered several cases against them. 

PTI demands UN to probe state excesses, human rights violations during Azadi March

The PTI in its letter also put forward its five demands to the UN:

  • “Demand an independent and impartial investigation into these state excesses and human rights violations.
  • Demand that the government immediately cease harassment of PTI workers and leaders. 
  • Demand the release of all political workers and cease lodging politically-motivated FIRs against workers and leaders of the PTI. 
  • Stop media censorship, which is in violation of basic democratic norms and of the ICCPR to which Pakistan is a party. 
  • Stop denying the right to peaceful protest through repressive measures and blocking access to protest sites.”

PTI to send ‘torture’ videos to UN, human rights organisations

A day earlier, PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry had said that his party is gathering videos of “torture” against party workers — during “Azadi March” — so that they can be shared with the United Nations and other human rights organisations.

In a press conference flanked by PTI leader Hammad Azhar, the ex-information minister said male police personnel entered the residences of party leaders and “misbehaved” with women.

“We are gathering footage of the incidents and will raise it on international forums. Such brutality was not witnessed even during the regimes of dictators,” the PTI leader said.

But despite making continuous claims of holding a peaceful march towards the federal capital, PTI Chairman Imran Khan admitted a day earlier that the protesters that accompanied him during the “Azadi March” were carrying weapons with them.

Speaking at an interview with a private TV channel about the PTI’s “Azadi March” and the clashes between the party members and the police, the former premier said that he felt that the country would have gone towards anarchy had the march continued — as three people had already been killed.

“There was already hatred among the people due to raids carried out by the Punjab Police on PTI lawmakers’ houses a day prior to the march,” said Khan, adding that “he was 100% sure that the situation would lead to chaos.”



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