HRCP Condoles Death of Justice Sabihuddin Ahmed

Council Members of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan express their deep sadness at the passing away of Justice Sabihuddin Ahmed on 18 April. He was a founder member of HRCP and its first Vice Chairperson for Sindh. As a Council Member, Mr. Ahmed remained deeply committed to HRCP and contributed greatly to the causes and issues addressed by the Commission. He resigned from HRCP after being appointed as a judge of the Sindh High Court in 1997. Justice Sabihuddin was elevated to the position of Chief Justice of Sindh and was recently made a judge of the Supreme Court. He was among the judges who refused to take oath under the PCO in 2007.

 

Justice Sabihuddin Ahmed gave several judgments strengthening the principles of human rights and bringing relief to the aggrieved. In a landmark judgment in 1997, for the first time in Pakistan’s judicial history, he ordered the payment of monetary compensation to a detenu in a habeas corpus petition. In January 2009, he ordered the release of haris who were in detention. As a noted lawyer, he was always available to advise various NGOs working for the promotion of fundamental rights of citizens.

 

In his death, the country has lost a compassionate human being and a firm believer in the principles of justice and rule of law. 

 

Asma Jahangir

Chairperson

Alarming rise in killing of women and children in Karachi recorded during the 1st quarter of 2009

Press Release, April 14, 2009

 

An alarming rise in killing of women and children in Karachi was recorded during the first quarter of 2009

 

Karachi: According to the statistics maintained by Sindh Chapter of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, an increase of 13% (8.4% in cases of women and 4.9 in children) has been recorded in the killings and accidental deaths of citizens of Karachi during the first quarter of 2009.  This does not include deaths due to road accidents.

 

During the first quarter of 2008, a total of 387 deaths were recorded including that of 25 women and 18 children, while during the first quarter of 2009, it was 415 including that of 62 women and 40 innocent children.

 

Below are some comparative figures for the first quarters of 2009 & 2008:

 

·        54 persons died due to drinking of toxic wine (2009)

·        45 persons were killed due to personal enmity while last year it was 32

·        37 persons killed during robbery while last year it was 44

·        24 persons lost lives in target killing while last year it was 25.

·        19 persons kidnapped and killed while last year it was 53.

·        19 dead bodies were found while last year it was 21.

·        17 political activists were killed while last year it was 51.

·        15 persons killed in police encounter while last year it was 20.

·        12 labourers died at work while last year it was 12.

·        11 policemen were killed while last year it was 15.

·        07 persons were killed on railway track while last year it was 11.

·        07 persons were killed due to stray bullets while last year it was 9.

·        06 persons were killed due to overdose of drugs while last year it was 4.

·        06 persons were killed in Lyari gang war while last year it was 17.

·        05 persons were killed by police torture while last year it was 02.

·        04 persons died in jail while last year it was 02.

·        03 Security guards were killed while last year it was 07.

·        01 person was killed in bomb blast while last year it was 14.

·        05 persons dead due to negligence of different departments of government.

·        01 person was killed by relatives due to love marriage.

·        01 person was killed in ethnic riots.

 

Women            

 

·        23 women were killed by unknown persons while last year it was 11.

·        20 women died due to burn injuries.

·        14 women were killed by their relatives while last year it was 12.

·        07 women were killed on railway track.

·        03 women killed during robbery while last year it was 02.

 

Children

 

·      40 children died in different incidents while last year it was 18.  Among the 40 this quarter, 21 children died due to fire, 6 were kidnapped and killed, 5 drowned in open sewerage tanks, dead bodies of 2 infants were found, 2 were killed due to stray bullets, 01 was killed on railway track and 1 lost life in target killing.

 

Major incident causing death during the first quarter of 2009

 

At least 40 people were killed and around 25 injured when a fire ripped through dozens of shanty homes in North Karachi, in January 2009.

 

HRCP Sindh Office

Unit # 8, First Floor, State Life Building # 5,

Abdullah Haroon Road, Saddar, Karachi

Ph: (021) 5637131 – 32.

Redeem all your pledges, says HRCP

Press Release, August 8

 

Lahore: Commenting on their Thursday’s decisions, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has called upon the members of the ruling coalition to redeem all their pledges to establish democracy and supremacy of parliament, restore judges and the independence of the judiciary, and secure the people’s release from grinding poverty and unemployment, with the seriousness that their obligation demands. In a statement issued here today HRCP Chairperson Asma Jahangir said:

 

On Thursday the leaders of the coalition parties stopped their gyrations and chose to move in a direction the people can recognize and understand. It was time they did so and arrested the process of the citizens’ frustration at lack of the new government’s interest in honouring the electorate’s unmistakable verdict of February 18. They will be forgiven their dithering over several precious months if they redeem their pledges with the seriousness and the sense of urgency their responsibilities demand. These pledges are: a complete break from authoritarianism, transition to democratic governance and establishment of the supremacy of parliament; restoration of judges and independence of the judiciary; and a concerted campaign to alleviate the socio-economic plight of the people, especially to secure their release from grinding poverty, unemployment and the various forms of denial of their basic rights and freedoms. For the citizens elections and change of regime are not meant to provide only for the advancement of a few, nor are they matters for academic quibbling or rhetorical flourishes, these are merely mile posts on their journey towards freedom, security and prosperity. The coalition leaders’ earnestness in resolutely pursuing the course they have chosen alone will guarantee them the public support without which the state cannot achieve anything. Besides, no political arrangement can survive by adding fresh pledges to older, unfulfilled commitments. The conseques of allowing the latest resolution to meet a fate similar to that of the Charter of Democracy or the Murree Declaration will be too dreadful to be imagined.

 

Asma Jahangir

Chairperson

HRCP strongly condemns Rangers brutality on PTCL workers

Press Release, July 16, 2008

 

Karachi: In a statement issued to the press, Iqbal Haider, the Co-Chairperson of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) strongly condemned Rangers brutality on a peaceful demonstration of the workers of PTCL, protesting against the Unified Pay Scale Scheme (UPS), outside the PTCL Headquarters, Islamabad on July 15, 2008.   

 

HRCP would like to know that under what law, the peaceful demonstrators were beaten up, baton charged, and tear-gassed.  HRCP would also like to remind the Government of Pakistan that peaceful demonstrations and raising voice for the rights, are fundamental human rights.

 

HRCP was shocked to note that instead of sympathizing and helping the working class, listening to their grievances, the administration decided to attack on the peaceful demonstrators.  HRCP was further pained when the elected Federal Government added insult to the injury by stating that Government would not allow the protesting labourers to take law in their hands.  Federal Government has totally ignored and forgotten that to protest, is an alienable fundamental right of every citizen.  To deprive them with this right and to use force to prevent them from protesting, is an inhuman act and is not only a shameful violation of the Constitution but also an abuse of authority in an oppressive manner.

 

Mr. Haider called upon the Government that instead of baton charging and tear-gassing, or preventing them from protesting for their demand, the Government should make every effort for acceptance of the demands of the workers of PTCL.

 

HRCP also demanded to take strict disciplinary action against all the concerned officials who are responsible for the lathi charge, tear gassing and injuring the peaceful demonstrators of PTCL.

Iqbal Haider, Secretary General

 

HRCP condemns harassments of human rights defenders

Press Release, June 20, 2008

 

Karachi: In a statement issued to the press, Iqbal Haider, Co-Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan strongly condemns the harassment and victimization of human rights defenders, for raising voice against bonded labour. 

 

Mr. Haider said that it was shocking that the main accused reportedly involved in the crime of bonded labour and kidnapping, arrested under the court order has been released after the dismissal of the independent judiciary of the superior court.  Now not only that he has been released but he has the audacity to harass, and victimized human rights activist like Mr. Akhter Baloch by reportedly filing a criminal case of defamation in a district and session court of Sanghar. It is also learnt that the court has issued warrant of arrest of Mr. Akhter Baloch in a baseless and mala fide case. Akhter Baloch is a member of HRCP and has been actively pursuing the cases of bonded labourers, in particular for recovery of the bonded family of Munno Bheel.

 

Mr. Haider has called upon the authorities, to give due protection to the bona fide member and activist of HRCP, and to prevent misuse of the due process of the law and ensure that no human rights activist is harassed and victimized by the violators of the human rights and the law.

 

Iqbal Haider, Co-Chairperson