Pakistan has expressed concern over the recent ethnic violence in Myanmar, where dozens of people – mostly Muslims – have died.
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Moazzam Ali Khan, during the weekly news briefing on Thursday said: “We are concerned about the situation but there are reports that things have improved there.”
The spokesman hoped that the authorities in Myanmar would take necessary steps to control the situation.
Recent clashes in western Myanmar between Buddhist ethnic Rakhine and Muslim Rohingya have left dozens dead and tens of thousands homeless. Last week, Amnesty International said hundreds of people, mostly men and boys, have been detained in sweeps of areas heavily populated by the Rohingya.
Most arrests appear to have been “arbitrary and discriminatory” and Amnesty said there were “credible reports” of abuses, including rape, destruction of property and unlawful killings, by both Rakhine Buddhists and the security forces.
Taliban threaten Myanmar
Meanwhile, the Pakistani Taliban threatened to attack Myanmar to avenge crimes against the Muslim Rohingya, unless Pakistan halts all relations with the government and shuts its embassy in Islamabad.
In a rare statement focused on the plight of Muslims abroad, the umbrella Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) group sought to present itself as a defender of Muslim men and women in Myanmar, saying “we will take revenge of your blood”.
Spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan demanded that the Pakistani government halt all relations with Myanmar and close down its embassy in Islamabad.
“Otherwise we will not only attack Burmese interests anywhere but will also attack the Pakistani fellows of Burma one by one,” he said in a statement.
The Myanmar embassy in Islamabad was not immediately reachable for comment.
Lawyers across Sindh also took notice of the killings and expressed solidarity with the victims. The Karachi Bar Association has also announced that they will hold a protest because “the killings of Muslims in Myanmar (Burma) are in fact genocide... and lawyers of Pakistan cannot ignore the issue”. (WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM AFP AND OUR CORRESPONDENT IN KARACHI)
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2012.
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