Zulfi Bukhari calls out ‘Western hypocrisy’ on ‘human rights abuses’ in Pakistan

US wanted to put visa sanctions on Bangladesh but decided to term Pakistan’s situation as “internal affair”, he laments

PTI leader and former minister of overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari speaking at Oxford Majlis in UKs Oxford University on January 25, 2024. — X/@sayedzbukhari
PTI leader and former minister of overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari speaking at Oxford Majlis in UK’s Oxford University on January 25, 2024. — X/@sayedzbukhari
  • Bukhari slams US for terming Pakistan’s situation as “internal affair”.
  • Laments human rights organisations’ silence, double standards.
  • Says hypocrisy between Pakistan and other countries is worrying.

As Pakistan gears up for February 8 polls, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Zulfi Bukhari called out “Western hypocrisy” for its silence on “human rights abuses” in the country.

Speaking at Oxford University Majlis, a forum for intellectual exchange at the prestigious varsity in London, Bukhari decried the double standards of human rights organisations and Western powers for failing to raise voices against human rights violations in the country as opposed to the developments in other nations.

Acknowledging that the media has given coverage to PTI founder Imran Khan-related developments, Bukhari lamented that human rights organisations such as Amnesty International, have “written very few” about human rights abuses in Pakistan.

Recalling Amnesty’s coverage of recently concluded general elections in Bangladesh, the PTI leader said that the human rights watchdog raised its voice on the absence of a transparent democracy and crackdown against opposition parties.

“They [US] wanted to put visa sanctions on Bangladesh as the country wasn’t fitting the exact outfit what a democratic country should be […] but Pakistan is termed as an internal affair.

“This hypocrisy that’s being used between Pakistan and other countries […] is most worrying,” the former minister said while responding to a question seeking his message for the Western governments.

However, the body failed to do the same over the situation in Pakistan, he maintained while referring to the countrywide crackdown against PTI workers and leaders following the May 9 riots triggered last year as a result of Khan’s arrest in a graft case.

The riots, which saw military installations including Rawalpindi’s General Headquarters (GHQ), Lahore Corps Commander’s House and other sensitive infrastructure being vandalised, prompted the then Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)-led Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government to trial those responsible in the military courts.

Hundreds of PTI workers and leaders have been arrested after being booked in different cases related to the incidents that unfolded on May 9.

Continuing with his narrative, Bukhari claimed that at one point around 13,000 people, including women and children, were put behind bars — as part of the nationwide crackdown against PTI — alleging that the authorities even went after relatives of PTI workers and leaders.

The former special assistant to the prime minister also stressed that those not “giving in” and have refused to “hold press conferences” are still imprisoned.

His remarks refer to the recent trend of press conferences by PTI leaders who went off the grid and reappeared only to denounce the party for the May 9 riots while either leaving the Khan-founded party or joining any other.

With a large number of leaders parting ways with the former ruling party and others being behind bars or in hiding, which for now stands leaderless courtesy of Khan being disqualified in the Toshakhana case coupled with Barrister Gohar Khan’s removal as chairman following the annulment of intra-party polls, has fielded a large number of lawyers.

The PTI nominees will be contesting the elections as independent candidates due to the party being symbol-less.

Earlier today, the PTI claimed that the party’s websites had been blocked in the country.

The former ruling party, who has been decrying the “absence of a level-playing field” in the run-up to general elections slated to be held on February 8, asked on Friday the government to explain why the PTI’s websites were blocked in the country.

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