This is a new and very fresh threat to all those social media activists and Human Rights Defenders who are already under threats and suffer from state persecution, intimidation and harassment.
Interior Minister might have issued this order after he sensed that Army was feeling dissatisfied when it took back its tweet regarding Dawn leaks. Now FIA will have a license to arrest HRDs and social media activists. Human Rights Defenders are already suffering from state oppression and under various tactics NGOs workers, social media activists and HRDs are harassed and their activities are monitored which is a threat to them. HRDs in FATA are monitored and harassed all the times. They are followed and their friends and all those coming to their offices or having some issue are closely observed and intimidated. Here is a famous proverb that all your followers are not always your fans. There are many NGOs in FATA which were once active but now they are inactive or went to be dormant due to intimidation persecution and harassment of state institutes. Many NGOs especially local one which have little or no financial resources have closed down their offices because donors and international NGOs are discouraged in FATA to operate and continue their developmental and educational activities in partnership with local NGOs. NGOs and donors will have to get No Objection certificate from security establishment which is never allotted. Only Government run organizations are allowed to work and International donors and NGOs also prefer to work with them as these types of government supported organizations are facing no such issues in getting NOCs etc. There are some NGOs also which are fit in narrative of national interest and their management just want implementation of their projects also do not face problems like those rights based NGOs working to educate people on their rights which state has denied to them since inception of Pakistan.
In FATA which has a population more than 20 million interior Minister will not face such criticism on national institute called Army because for last several months and in some cases several years that people of FATA are deprived of internet facility which can be used for social media like face book and twitter. People are disconnected from national and international networking. Their voice is not heard. There are many among tribal people who travel more than 50 to hundred kilometers just for an email to settled and adjacent areas of Pakhtunkhwa province.
Now we should come to national interest. First this needs to be decided. What is this national interest? Who are friendly countries and which are enemy’s countries? Here I would like to cite only one example of national and civilian interest.
Ehsanullah Ehsan is a killer for civilian while a hero for Army. Civil and military views are opposite here. If killing innocent Pashtun and school going children is national interest for Army civilians’ r not ready. This is genocide for us.
By Zar Ali Khan Afridi
Writer is a chairperson at FATA Commission of Human Rights