Press Release, January 5
Lahore: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has strongly condemned the arrest of Mumtaz Bhutto and warned the government of the damage to the democratic experiment that will follow high-handed suppression of dissent. In a statement issued here today HRCP said:
All right-minded people will strongly condemn the arrest and detention of Mumtaz Bhutto, the old and sick patriarch of a Sindhi nationalist organization, because it clearly smacks of political vindictiveness. HRCP’s solidarity with media persons and their establishments does not need recalling and it will stand by them whenever they are threatened by the state or any non-state actor. But in the present case the authorities have abused their powers by going for a person who is not even mentioned in the FIR. Are we now going to see party chiefs hauled up for allegations against their junior-most flag-carriers? When an establishment that has done little in cases of grave attacks on the media bares its fangs on a small issue its motives become suspect, to put it mildly. HRCP should like to advise the government against high-handed suppression of dissent as this will cause irreparable damage to the fragile experiment in restoration of democratic governance. The sooner the action against Mumtaz Bhutto is withdrawn the better, especially for the establishment.