Pakhtunkhwa Times

A Peace Rally organized by Pakhtunkhwa Peace Forum in Toronto, demanding to stop the killing of innocent Pashtun people:

Posted in 1 by ppfcanada on February 16, 2009






Pakhtunkhwa Peace Forum

Media Release
February 15, 2009,

Stop the Genocide of Pashtuns

TORONTO- Protesting against the killing of innocent Pashtuns in northern Pakistan, Pakhtunkhwa Peace Form Canada (PPF-Canada) organized a peace rally in front of Ontario Legislative Building at Queens Park Toronto and demanded the United Nations ,Canada, and other peace-loving members of the international community to launch viable strategies for bringing peace and stability to Swat, Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and other part of NWFP (Pakhtunkhwa) by engaging and empowering Pashtun social and political leadership. The rally was also joined in by Pashtun Peace Forum, Canadian Muslim Congress, PRAP Canada, Canadian Institute for Peace and Democracy in Pakistan (CIPD), Canadian Pashtun Cultural Association (CPCA), Pakistani Canadian Pashtun Association, Canadian Afghan Association and people from different walks of life, and demanded the Canadian government and United Nations to condemn the ongoing killing of innocent Pashtuns in Swat and other part of Pakhtunkhwa (North West province of Pakistan).

The rally continued for two hours and the participants unanimously passed a draft resolution of their demands to be submitted to the Government of Canada and then marched to the Downtown.

The main objectives of the rally were:

• To create awareness about the killings of innocent Pashtuns particularly in SWAT Valley, and generally in Pakhtunkhwa-North West of Pakistan.
• To stress upon Canadian Government, international community and all humanitarian organizations to take notice of the Pashtuns’ genocide unfolding in the area.

Speaking on the occasion, speakers said that an indiscriminate campaign of killing the local peaceful civilian population has been going on for the last more than one year , on one side by the Taliban and on the other side by the security forces under the pretext of attacking militants/Taliban . Population centers are regularly fired upon and shelled with gunship helicopters, mortars, and rockets. There is disproportionate and indiscriminate use of firepower. An area populated by more than one million people has been blockaded while electricity, fuel, water-supply and all sorts of food supply have been cut-off. More than 800,000 people have already been displaced. The number of deaths has crossed 3,000 mark while injured and maimed are believed to be 5-6 times that figure. To add insult to injury, local hospitals are closed while the district headquarters hospital is inaccessible due to indefinite curfews and blocked roads. Dead bodies are lying putrefying in the homes, fields and on roads while locals have no chance to bury them due to harsh curfews and incessant shelling. While the muzzled official media would make us believe that only militants are being targeted, in reality it is the innocent commoners who are bearing the brunt of this military adventurism.

Referring to latest Amnesty International Report on Swat Valley, Javed Akhtar, President Pakhtunkhwa Peace Forum, Canada, said that over the past year more than 3,000 innocent civilian have been killed and more than 800,000 have been displaced in the Swat valley as a result of fighting between Pakistani Taliban group and the Military. He pointed out that Amnesty has given very conservative figures of 1200 deaths that may have been true half a year ago but not now. He also spoke about destruction of more than 200 schools by Taliban, due to which 120,000 girls have been affected. He emphasized that due to the absence of representative media, Pashtuns are being portrayed as extremists and terrorists by the state media, to create a smokescreen for military adventurism and the genocide of Pashtun.

Other speakers added that they want to educate and apprise fellow Canadian, the Canadian media and journalists of this unreported genocide and asked Canadian newspapers and TV network to send reporters and cameramen to talk to hundred of Pashtuns women, children and men whose family members are being killed in Pakistan’s Pashtun area by the militants and security forces. Speakers also said that Pashtuns are Peace loving people and are against all form of terrorism. They stressed that Taliban are not Pashtuns, but are the killer of Pashtun and must not be associated with Pashtuns.

Participants of the rally demanded that parties involved in the conflict in the Pashtun areas in Pakistan should stop killing the Pashtuns in proxy wars and should reconcile their interests through non-violent and political means. They demanded the United Nations to formulate a new strategy for the region to put an end to the bloodshed and instability. Speakers asked the international community to strengthen both the NWFP (Pakhtunkhwa) and local Pashtun leaders at village and neighborhood levels in order to put an end to the influence of militants and outlaws. They also demanded the UN and international community to immediately provide shelter, food and immigration opportunities and refugee status to the hundreds of thousands of Internally Displaced People (IDP’s) of FATA and Swat, Bajawar and other part of NWFP (Pakhtunkhwa) province of Pakistan on priority basis.

Speakers voiced the demand of Pashtuns and Afghans that the international community divert its investment in war to reconstruction and development of Pashtun people. It should invest in education, healthcare and small businesses so that the people and especially the youth are engaged in meaningful and positive activities and don’t fall prey to the subversive agendas of the extremist network.

Contact: organizer at ppfcanada@gmail.com

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Our Peace Rally at Toronto

Posted in 1 by ppfcanada on February 16, 2009

http://www.bbc.co.uk/pashto/news/story/2009/02/090216_canada_demo.shtml