HRCP condoles the death of Benazir Bhutto

PRESS RELEASE, December 27, 2007

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan is shocked and deeply grieved at the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, Chairperson, Pakistan People’s Party.

HRCP strongly condemns the barbaric act and demands an inquiry by an international team of investigators. The Commission holds the Government of Pakistan and all the law enforcing authorities under it, responsible for this tragedy. It notes that in spite of the suicide attack on the former prime minister’s convoy in Karachi in October and her frequent concerns of safety communicated to the authorities, adequate protection was not provided.

HRCP salutes the courage of Benazir Bhutto who, in spite of threats to her life, continued to address public rallies and be close to the people. She demonstrated in life and in death her commitment to the revival of a democratic process in Pakistan.


Issued on behalf of the HRCP Council (governing body).

Asma Jahangir,Chairperson,

Iqbal Haider, HRCP Secretary General

Zohra Yusuf, HRCP Vice Chairperson, Sindh

Mr. I. A. Rehman – Director, Mr. Shahid Kardar – Treasurer, Mr. Zahoor Ahmed Shahwani (Advocate) – Vice-Chairperson Balochistan, Mr. Kamran Arif – Vice-Chairperson NWFP, Ms. Hina Jilani – Vice-Chairperson Punjab, and HRCP Council Members Mrs. Surriya Amirrudin, Ms. Rahila Durrani, Mr. Tahir Husain Khan, Mr. Malik Adeel Mengal, Mr. Habib Tahir, Mr. Afrasiab Khattak, Advocate, Ms. Musarrat Hilali, Mr. Sher Mohammad Khan, Ms. Salima Hashmi, Dr. Mubashar Hasan, Dr. Mehdi Hasan, Air Marshal Zafar Chaudhry, Ms. Shahtaj Qizilbash, Mr. Nadeem Anthony, Mr. Attiq-ur-Rehman, Advocate, Ms. Uzma Noorani, Mr. Rochi Ram, Ms. Perveen Soomro (Advocate), Mr. Ali Hasan, Mr. Jam Saqi, Mr. Ronald de Souza, Mr. Ghazi Salahuddin, Mr. Amarnath Motumal, and Mr. Asad Iqbal Butt.

HRCP: invitation to participate in a Consultation on Workers’ Rights

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan cordially invites you to participate in a Consultation on Workers’ Rights

On Friday, December 28, 2007, at 09:30 am

At Crown B, Regent Plaza Hotel and Convention Center, Karachi

RSVP

HRCP Karachi Chapter

Ph: (021) 5637131 / 32

Fax: (021) 5637133

E-mail: hrcp@cyber.net.pk Continue reading

6th Session UNHRC: Council fails to take resolute action on Sudan/Darfur, Myanmar and Pakistan, despite long-awaited substantive debate

Resumed 6th Session of the Human Rights Council: Council fails to take resolute action on Sudan/Darfur, Myanmar and Pakistan, despite long-awaited substantive debate.

15 December 2007

Resumed 6th Session of the Human Rights Council: Council fails to take resolute action on Sudan/Darfur, Myanmar and Pakistan, despite long-awaited substantive debate.

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) today called on all governments to raise the voice and take bold measures to protect human rights wherever vigorous action is needed, after the UN Human Rights Council concluded its resumed 6th session on 14 December 2007. At the session, the Council extended the mandates of experts on Sudan, Liberia, counter-terrorism and human rights, internally displaced persons, adequate housing and the right to health and established an expert group on indigenous peoples. The ICJ is concerned at the termination of the mandate of the Group of Experts on Darfur and the Council’s failure to adopt sound measures in response to human rights crises in Myanmar and Pakistan. Continue reading

Grave Concern Expressed In UN Human Rights Council In Geneva Over The Political Conditions In Pakistan

HRCP PRESS RELEASE

On his return from Geneva, Mr. Iqbal Haider, Secretary General of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) stated that during his four days stay in Geneva last week starting from 10th December, he had the opportunity to address the 6th session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC). He also addressed two separate seminars one organized by International Commission of Jurists and the other by Interfaith International on the Prevailing Political Conditions and violations of Human Rights in Pakistan.

Mr. Haider disclosed that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Louise Arbour, while presenting her report in the Human Rights Council (HRC) on the Human Rights Situations world over had expressed her concern also over the conditions in Pakistan, inter-alia, that “.. emergency rule and actions taken under it have inflicted severe, long-term injury to the judiciary and to civil society. All possible corrective measures should be put in to place to restore confidence in fully independent judicial system in Pakistan”.

Mr. Haider participated in the debate on item 4 of the Agenda relating to “Human Rights situations that require the HRC’s attention”. On behalf of HRCP and International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Mr. Haider, while addressing the Council, expressed deepest concern over the dramatic setback in the field of Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Pakistan. Continue reading

NYTimes: Picture of Secret Detentions Emerges in Pakistan

Article published in The New York Times titled Picture of Secret Detentions Emerges in Pakistan. By CARLOTTA GALL, Published: December 19, 2007

The New York Times

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan’s military and intelligence agencies, apparently trying to avoid acknowledging an elaborate secret detention system, have quietly set free nearly 100 men suspected of links to terrorism, few of whom were charged, human rights groups and lawyers here say.

Those released, they say, are some of the nearly 500 Pakistanis presumed to have disappeared into the hands of the Pakistani intelligence agencies cooperating with Washington’s fight against terrorism since 2001.

No official reason has been given for the releases, but as pressure has mounted to bring the cases into the courts, the government has decided to jettison some suspects and spare itself the embarrassment of having to reveal that people have been held on flimsy evidence in the secret system, its opponents say.

Interviews with lawyers and human rights officials here, a review of cases by The New York Times and court records made available by the lawyers show how scraps of information have accumulated over recent months into a body of evidence of the detention system.

In one case, a suspect tied to, but not charged with the 2002 killing of Daniel Pearl, the American journalist, was dumped on a garbage heap, so thin and ill he died 20 days later. He, like one other detainee, was arrested in South Africa several years ago and released in Pakistan this year.

The Pakistani government denies detaining people illegally and says that many of the missing are actually in regular jails on criminal charges, while other cases have been fabricated.

In at least two instances, detainees were handed over to the United States without any legal extradition proceedings, Pakistani lawyers and human rights groups say. American officials here and in Washington refused to comment on the cases.

“They are releasing them because these cases are being made public,” said Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, a lawyer working at the Supreme Court who has taken many cases of the missing. “They want to avoid the publicity.”

In addition, human rights groups and lawyers here contend, the government has swept up at least 4,000 other Pakistanis, most of them Baluchi and Sindhi nationalists seeking ethnic or regional autonomy who have nothing to do with the United States campaign against terrorism.

Human rights groups and lawyers describe the disappearances as one of the grimmest aspects of Pervez Musharraf’s presidency, and one that shows no sign of slowing.

Under previous governments, “there were one or two cases, but not the systematic disappearances by the intelligence agencies under Musharraf,” said Iqbal Haider, secretary general of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, an independent nonprofit organization. Continue reading

A Return to Violence – Isl Dec 17 Protest

Daily Times

Dawn

Dawn – Crackdown on protesters in Islamabad

ISLAMABAD, Dec 17: A clash between police and protesters here on Monday left scores of rights activists, journalists and policemen injured. Police and eyewitnesses said around 400 to 500 protesters carrying placards and banners and shouting anti-government slogans, gathered at Aabpara Chowk in the afternoon and started marching towards the Judges Colony. They were demanding release of deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry. Policemen wielding batons tried to stop them and fired teargas to prevent them from heading towards the official residence of the deposed chief justice. Protest organisers said police had arrested about 60 people, including political activist Jamil Abbasi, advocate Tariq Mehmood and a number of students. They were detained in a lock-up of the Secretariat Police Station and were to be booked on various charges, including violation of a ban on protest demonstrations. Continue reading

HRCP is deeply concerned about the health and life of Dr. Safdar Sarki

Dr. Safdar Sarki

December 17, 2007
Karachi: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan is deeply concerned about the life and health of Dr. Safdar Sarki, General Secretary of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) – one of the victims of “enforced disappearances” that the Supreme Court was looking into, who is currently detained in far flung Zhob Jail in Balochistan and is suffering from retinal degeneration (losing eyesight), arthritis and hernia. Dr. Sarki requires necessary medicines immediately but neither the family members nor the colleagues of Dr. Sarki are being allowed to see him and to provide him necessary medicines in the jail.

The prison doctors in Zhob have advised that Dr. Sarki should be sent for consultation to Aga Khan Medical University Karachi immediately but authorities have plainly refused to do so.

On February 24, 2006, Dr. Sarki was reportedly beaten and taken away from his relative’s flat in Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Karachi, blindfolded, to an unknown location by security personnel who also confiscated his belongings (including laptop, driving license, US passport, money etc). After months of holding him incommunicado and denying his custody, security agencies finally produced him in court in October 2007, along with two other missing Sindhi nationalist leaders G. M. Bhagat and Cheetan Bajeer. Police then officially “arrested” all three. Dr Sarki was charged with possessing explosives and was finally granted bail on November 02, 2007.

Such acts of the authorities and their intelligence agencies are out rightly in violation of the constitution, all laws, all human rights and all civilized norms. The government must abandon such acts and policies of harassing and victimizing citizens in such brutal, illegal and inhuman manner.

HRCP strongly demands that Dr. Sarki must immediately be released on bail and shifted to Aga Khan Medical University Hospital, Karachi and given access to his relatives and colleagues.

Zohra Yusuf
Vice Chairperson, Sindh
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan