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PTM Europe demanding revoking the GSP+ status of Pakistan

Statement of PTM Europe demanding revoking the GSP+ status of Pakistan

PTM Europe welcomes the European Parliament’s call for reconsidering the GSP+ status of Pakistan. PTM is against every form of religious or ethnic discrimination and oppression. However, we would like to emphasize that while the persecution of religious minorities is more visible, the repression of Pashtuns is more complex and occurs in secret in completely militarized zones where no independent human rights organizations or journalists are allowed.
PTM is a non-violent movement holding processions, marches, and sit-ins all over Pakistan demanding justice for thousands of victims of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances carried out by the military, clearing landmines from Pashtun villages and towns, targeted destruction of livelihoods and businesses of Pashtuns and debilitating of their trade and other infrastructure. These demands are a thorn in the military’s side. PTM activists and other human rights activists in Pakistan have been subjected to various forms of crackdowns, such as media blackouts of PTM’s rallies, travel bans on PTM leaders, firing of activists from jobs, death threats, abductions, torture and even murder attacks.
In February 2019, a prominent activist of PTM and a college Professor, Arman Luni, was killed by an ex- military-turned-police officer during a crackdown on a peaceful sit-in in Loralai district of Balochistan. In May 2019, Pakistan Army, using live ammunition, killed 14 and injured 25 during a PTM protest in Khar Kamar area in North Waziristan. Gulalai Ismail, PTM and women ́s rights activist, was forced to flee the country due to death threats issued to her by Pakistan’s spy agency, ISI. On May 2, 2020, non-state proxies of ISI assassinated another prominent PTM activist Arif Wazir, who before that could not be silenced by several bouts of imprisonment. On March 13, 2021, PTM leader Manzoor Pashteen was the target of an armed attack at a toll plaza at Mansehra interchange which is tightly controlled by Pakistani security forces. One of the leaders of PTM, Ali Wazir, an elected member of Pakistani parliament, is currently in jail on charges of ‘sedition’ after calling peacefully for accountability for the crimes against Pashtuns in the tribal areas. Several other PTM activists are currently in jail on false charges as well.
By denying Pashtuns their rights, intimidating and torturing human rights activists, cracking down brutally on peaceful protests and extrajudicial abductions and killings, the Pakistani state clearly violates its obligations to the Generalized scheme of preferences (GSP) of the European Union (EU), which allows developing countries to pay less or no duties on their exports to the EU. Instead of promoting democracy and the rule of law, Pakistan uses the benefits of GSP+ ifor its oppressive operations against ethnic and religious minorities and political dissent. We therefore urge the EU to revoke Pakistan’s GSP+ status.
PTM hopes that actions taken in this regard by the EU will pressurize Pakistan into abiding by the human rights conventions the country has signed and will deter Pakistani authorities from violating the rights of its citizens guaranteed by International Human Rights Law, UN declaration of Human Rights and other relevant conventions and treaties to which the State of Pakistan is a signatory.

Sincerely,

PTM Europe

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