Experts and human rights activists from South Asia raised concerns over Pakistan's military using extremist terror groups as instruments of foreign and domestic policy.
The two-day long 'SAATH2020' event orgsed by South Asians against Terrorism and for Human Rights saw the participation of former Pakist diplomats, journalists and human rights activists.
Topics focused included constitutionalism reform, ethnic identities, social movements in Pakistan and South Asia, human rights violations, nexus between militancy and military, and building international pressure and network.
SAATH Forum tweeted, "The group demanded that the Pakistan military must put an end to the continuing use of extremist militant groups as instruments of foreign and domestic policy and for that matter treating the western border of the country as the strategic backyard of Pakistan."
Among the prominent people who participated in the event included columnist Mohammad Taqi, former Senator Afrasiab Khattak, former Ambassador Kamran Safi, former editor of Daily Times Rashed Rahman, journalists Taha Siddiqui, Gul Bukhari, Marvi Sirmed and Pashtun activist Gulalai Ismail.
Former ambassador of Pakistan to the US Husain Haqq said in his address, "SAATH Forum has become an alternative platform of influencers which is very much needed not just in Pakistan but for South Asia given what is happening in the region because of the rise of new and improved repressive regimes."
Founding member of SAATH Forum and journalist Rashed Rahman talked about building social grassroots movements in Pakistan as mainstream political parties have caved in.
Pashtun activist Gulalai Ismail, who is now living in exile in the US said, "The room is full of voices of dissent who were forced to leave the country. Unfortunately, in the past decades, the situation has gone only worse. I represent the younger generation of dissent."
"The Pakist diaspora has an important role in speaking about issues that matter for Pakists back home, build intersectionalities and solidarities among nationalities which the state has been attempting to put in isolated boxes. Together we are stronger," she added.
Pakist journalist Taha Siddiqui, who is now living in exile in France, also spoke of his traumatic experience in Pakistan with threats, kidnapping attempt and his forced exile. He was facing threats from the military for the last several years.
A delegation of World Sindhi Congress headed by chairperson Dr Rubina Shaikh also participated in the conference and presented the case of Sindh and its current challenges.
It included demographic change, enforced disappearances, forced conversion of religion and other Sindh's burning issues.
( With inputs from ANI )