Monday, June 20, 2022
After the ousting of the PTI administration, a number of academics, including Noam Chomsky, have issued an open letter to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, urging him to take action against the "deteriorating human rights situation in Pakistan".
Taking to Twitter, former prime minister Imran Khan said that "Chomsky — one of world's most respected intellectuals — has added his voice to state oppression by this cabal of crooks foisted on Pak by US backed regime change conspiracy."
"Our democratic rights have been brutally violated, esp during our Haqiqi Azadi March," he added.
According to a letter dated May 26, "In the last two months, there has been an alarming rise in human rights violations in Pakistan, including suppression of freedom of speech; harassment and intimidation of journalists, social media users and political activists; [and] making of fake blasphemy cases against political rivals."
It also raised alarm over the detention of political opponents, including the former minister of human rights Shireen Mazari, and other political activists for their social media posts. The letter described raids and cases against journalists and politicians including "hacked, stolen, and seized electronic devices."
The academics also brought up the subject of blasphemy cases filed against PTI's leadership following an incident at Masjid Nabwi (SAW) earlier in the year. It was asserted that the administration was abusing blasphemy laws to engage in a "political vendetta against rivals."
The letter noted that troubling occurrences contravene the minimum criteria of democratic administration, the fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution of Pakistan, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
"We strongly urge the relevant Pakistani authorities to uphold and protect fundamental human rights, particularly freedom of opinion and speech, freedom of peaceful assembly, and freedom of religion or belief."