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The story of a missing Pashtun student Bakhtyar Orakzai: By Farhat Taj

Bakhtyar Orakzai

Bakhtyar Orakzai

BY FARHAT TAJ: In support and honour of Bakhtyar Orakzai, my student from KUST, kidnapped by intelligence agencies of Pakistan

Bakhtyar Khan Orakzai, born in1986, is from the Mishti tribe of Orakzai agency in FATA. The intelligence agencies of Pakistan abducted him in 2015 apparently on suspicion of his connection with the Taliban. At the time of abduction, he was studying MSc in Sociology at the Kohat University of Science and Technology (KUST) and was my student. For over a year his family remained uninformed about his whereabouts. Later one of his family acquaintances who works with an intelligence agency of Pakistan informed the family he was in the custody of the intelligence agencies. Sixteen months later the family still has no official confirmation of his whereabouts from the agencies. The family, based in Kohat is distressed with no one to turn to for help.

Bakhtyar was one of my good students. As his teacher I could recall nothing that indicated he was one of the Taliban militants or even their sympathizer. He should be presented in the court of law to check the allegations against him or he should be released immediately. Before his abduction, Bakhtyar was getting threatening telephone calls from Taliban militants, asking him to pay extortion or be ready for death. This is usually what the Taliban do with people who are wealthy. Bakhtyar was disturbed days before he was abducted. Some of his friends think the intelligence agencies misunderstood the Taliban’s telephonic contact with Bakhtyar and concluded that he has links with the Taliban though no previous association between them could be established. In a civilized society all faculty and students would have vocally protested against the mysterious abduction of one of their students. However, in the case of Bakhtyar’s abduction, KUST has maintained complete silence, demonstrating the fear people have of the Pakistani intelligence agencies as well as their callousness towards the issue.

Moreover, there are some ‘chosen’ Pashtun who are collecting around human rights awards all over the world. But they are totally silent on human rights of people kidnapped in their own region by the Taliban and the intelligence agencies of Pakistan. I fail to understand why can’t they speak up?

Dr. Farhat Taj

Dr. Farhat Taj

By Dr. Farhat Taj

This tribute is from Dr. Farhat Taj’s book, The Real Pashtun Question: How Can Religious Extremism, Misogyny and Pedophilia Be Controlled? The book is published by Kautilya, New Delhi, and is coming out in January 2017.


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