Press Release, 9 July 2008
Lahore: The Human Rights Commission Pakistan (HRCP) has called upon the prime minister to intervene on behalf of two Pakistani women, one detained in China and the other at the US-run Bagram airbase detention centre in Afghanistan.
No one has seen the Pakistani woman detained at Bagram for the last four years, but a number of former prisoners at Bagram have confirmed a Pakistani woman prisoner at Bagram and claimed hearing her screams.
Reportedly registered as prisoner number 650, her state of mind or the extent of abuse or torture she has suffered remains unknown.
The government must use its status as a leading US ally in the so-called war on terror to get details about the detained woman from Washington and ensure that her illegal detention ends without delay, and she is brought to Pakistan as soon as possible.
The other woman, Ms. Zalkaf Begum, a resident of village Sahoke, Tehsil Nowshera Virkan, district Gujranwala, has been in detention in China for three months after losing her passport and overstaying her visa duration.
Her case was brought to the attention of Pakistan’s Consulate in Beijing, which took almost two months to issue an emergency passport for her deportation to Pakistan.
She does not have the financial means to pay for her travel back to Pakistan. The Chinese authorities will not pay for the cost of deportation and will continue to detain her until someone pays for the air ticket. The Pakistani Consulate advises that it has no funds for the air ticket. Ms. Zalkaf is in poor health.
It is the responsibility of Pakistan missions to assist the country’s citizens who find themselves in trouble in a foreign country. Funds must be released immediately so that she can be repatriated to Pakistan at the earliest.
A civilized country shall never abandon its citizens or allow them to be treated in this manner. The government must act decisively to ensure that the rights of Pakistani citizens detained abroad are duly respected.
Asma Jahangir, Chairperson
Iqbal Haider, Co-chairperson