HRCP alarmed over illegal detentions, revenge killings in Swat

Lahore, February 22: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan on Monday expressed grave concern over detention of family members of suspected militants and continuing reports of revenge killings in Swat in the Malakand Division.

A statement issued by the Commission said: “HRCP has noted with deep concern credible reports of a large number of people in custody of the security forces in the Malakand Division who have not been produced in court. Many such detainees are relatives, including female family members, of suspected militants, who have apparently been taken into custody to press the militants to surrender.

Of similar concern are continuing reports of revenge killings targeting individuals suspected to have sided with the Taliban.

The Commission acknowledges that the government is dealing with a difficult situation in the fight against violent extremism in the region, but no circumstances authorise the state agencies to deal with the citizens in any manner they please. Nor does such situation deprive the citizens of their basic rights, particularly their right to life and to due process of law.

The government must ensure that each one of such detainees is immediately produced in court or released and paid compensation for arbitrary detention. HRCP also demands that International Committee of the Red Cross is granted access to the detainees.

The government must also ensure that no one is allowed to deny the citizens their right to life in an arbitrary manner. Allowing the citizens to take the law into their own hands would only fuel a cycle of revenge killings and the government would have lost another opportunity to distinguish its rule from that of the militants.

 

 

 

Asma Jahangir

Chairperson

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Consultation on police reform: citizens demand a police service, and not a force

Lahore, February 13: A consultation was held at the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan to discuss the new draft on police reforms that is likely to replace the Police Ordinance, 2002. Various stakeholders including police officials, members of civil bureaucracy, lawyers, human rights activists, journalists and social activists attended the consultation. Members of civil society were encouraged by the willingness of the police to invite comments on the proposed draft. The consultation recognized the crucial need for police reforms and its impact on citizens at large. Therefore, their voices must also be taken into account, because ultimately the people would be the beneficiaries of good policing. The consultation emphasised that the orientation of police reforms must be on community policing. The crux was to shift the focus from the police being a force to a service meant for the people. It was strongly urged that any accountability mechanism must be non-partisan, independent, and accessible to the aggrieved and must have binding powers to enforce its decisions. The tenure of individuals within the accountability bodies must be fixed and protected. It was recommended that the government may consider either setting up a provincial institution of police ombudsperson or a commission/authority that must be selected by an inter-party parliamentary committee. Such a body should be mandated to receive all complaints of alleged human rights abuses, offences and misconduct by the police and should have the powers to enforce its decisions in bringing the errant officers to account. This initiative should not be confused with policy oversight or other measures that may be put in place for building the capacity of the police. It was also pointed out that there can be no accountability unless the people have access to vital information regarding the police workings and crime statistics. Accountability should not be limited to the working methods of the police alone but must also extend to its financial regime so that resources trickle down to the thana level. The participants agreed that much of the present flaws plaguing the police lie in their training. It is, therefore, vital that the present training be reassessed and revised to reflect present day policing needs and address concerns over rights of citizens. Outside evaluation of the training outcomes was emphasised. All promotions and other incentives must be linked to trainings undergone. The participants were of the firm opinion that investigation of crimes should not be transferred without compelling reasons. They also suggested that sanctions be put in place for police officers that are found to have deliberately conducted inefficient and biased investigations. It was agreed that the recruitment method of the police suggested in the draft was appropriate but the participants recommended that recruitment of officers investigating a crime must have the requisite expertise. The draft law is misconceived in suggesting that those making vexatious complaints against the police be punished. Such a provision would discourage an already intimidated citizenry from bringing the police to account. Similarly, proposed penal sanctions for forgery should be deleted as the punishment for it is already provided for in the Pakistan Penal Code, which is far more effective. The participants were highly critical of the centralised manner in which the provincial police chief is appointed by the federal government. They were of the opinion that in order to keep in line with the process of granting greater autonomy to the provinces in matters of administration, the provincial police chief should primarily be appointed by the chief minister of the province in a transparent and non-arbitrary manner. In the same vein, in order to de-politicise the police and to make it more autonomous, all other postings, transfers and promotions should finally be made by the police chief himself/herself. The participants acknowledged the constraints under which the police works and called upon the authorities to have humane working hours for them so that fatigue does not compromise their ability to discharge their duty efficiently. The consultation agreed on setting up a working group that would revise and amend the present draft in line with principles of democratic policing as well as initiate a campaign geared towards reform of the police.

by: I. A Rehman Secretary General

 

List of 17 Pakistanis detained in India on HRCP website

Lahore, February 12: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has uploaded on its website the names of 17 Pakistanis held at a New Delhi detention facility as they await their deportation to Pakistan.

According to information available to the commission, all 17 men are held at New Delhi’s Restricted Foreigners Detention Camp, Lampur, and have completed their sentences.

HRCP has asked families of the detained men to contact the commission to help it pursue the matter. 

The detained men are Mumtaz Sharif Khan, Maqsood Ahmed, Amjad Saeed, Muneeer Ahmed, Muhammad Ejaz, Umer Shahzad, Muhammad Salim, Muhammad Riaz, Kamal, Muhammad Jameel, Rizwanul Haq, Iqrar Hussain, Tahir Saeed, Shaukat Ali, Muhammad Saeed, Muhammad Ashraf and Irshad Ali. Further details of each case are available on HRCP website: http://www.hrcp-web.org/showblog.asp?id=16 

As many as 11 detainees had been convicted and sentenced for entering India without valid visa documents or breaching the terms of their visa.

I.A. Rehman

Secretary-General

Delhi PUCL inquiry report: Seventeen Pakistanis Awaiting Deportation from Foreigners’ Detention Camp, Lampur

In the wake of three Pakistani detainees giving a slip to an FRRO Sub-Inspector and running away from his custody after visiting a hospital in New Delhi, PUCL conducted a fact-finding enquiry at the Lampur detention camp in Delhi to learn about the conditions in the camp. Mr. Mahi Pal Singh, General Secretary of Delhi PUCL and National Secretary of the organisation visited the camp on January 6, 2010. A team of about fifteen FRRO and police officers was at that time present at the camp to strengthen security so that no detainee could run away from the camp, oblivious of the fact that the three Pakistanis had run away not from the camp but from outside and that nobody has so far run away from the camp.
Mr. Mahi Pal Singh was not allowed to see the inmates of the camp for two hours and the FRRO Officers did not allow him even to take the signatures of Mr. M.S. Khan (on the Vakalatnama), one of the detainees lodged there for nearly one year in spite of having completed his sentence for entering the country without valid visa documents, for filinga writ petition in the Delhi High Court in spite of repeated requests, thus denying the detainee the right to legal aid in gross disregard of national and international laws. It was after more than two hours that Mr. Singh could see the inmates from a distance after the team of officers left the place. He could gather the information regarding those lodged in the camp later in the day telephonically only.
The inmates complained that the conditions at the camp were in no way different from a prison and they were not allowed even to arrange the purchase of sugar and tea from the market. One inmate was so brutally beaten up by the police in the camp that he had sustained head injuries and had to be hospitalised and given stitches in the head. It is perhaps because of such conditions that the three Pakistanis, who ran away from the custody, did not want to return to the camp at any cost, although they were reportedly going to be deported to Pakistan within a week’s time.
There are seventeen Pakistani
nationals lodged in the camp, one of whom had approached PUCL about six months ago for help. Delhi PUCL then conducted an inquiry and wrote to the National Human Rights Commission to intervene in the matter and get these people deported to their respective countries but the NHRC did not take any action on the complaint. The detainees have been waiting in the camp from two months to about four years, after completing their sentences for the offences they were charged of committing, to be deported to their country but nobody in the government or the NHRC has cared to listen to them. If we are sensitive to the welfare and rights of our own nationals living or detained abroad, we should also be sensitive to the human rights of foreign nationals living or detained in our own country.
The table given below gives the details of the detainees at the Lampur camp.
In the light of the facts stated above, PUCL demands:
1. that the inmates of the camp at Lampur be deported to their country at the earliest;
2. that a mechanism should be developed for a periodical review of the detainees at various camps meant for the detention of foreigners and they should be deported to their respective countries at the earliest;
3. that action should be initiated against the FRRO officers who were present at the camp on January 6, 2010 for denying a detainee his right to take legal aid in gross violation of national and international laws.
PUCL has also decided to file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Delhi High Court in this matter because the detainee, Mr. M.S. Khan, was denied the chance to take legal aid (by signing the Vakalatnama).
Sd./-
Mahi Pal Singh, National Secretary & General Secretary, Delhi PUCL
January 7, 2010
Foreign Detainees Detained at ‘Restricted Foreigners Detention Camp, Lampur, Delhi-110040
Sr. No. Name of detainee Age FIR No, PS Arrest Date of U/s Entry in camp Date of release,
1 Mumtaz Sharif Khan S/o Sharif Khan 57 66/08 Jama Masjid 04.09.08 14 Foreigners’ Act 04.03.2009
2 Maqsood Ahmed S/o Mahmood Hussain 31 493/01 N.S. Colony 13.09.01 4-5 Expls. Act 14 Forgn. Act 24.03.2006
3 Amzad Saeed S/o Bashir 41 49/96 Karol Bagh 04.02.96 NDPS, 14 Forgn. Act 07.08.2007
4 Muneer Ahmed S/o Mohd. Rafiq 38 295/2000 R.K. Puram 27.03.03 420, 14 Forgn. Act 20.03.2008
5 Mohd. Ejaz S/o Rana Mukhtar Ahmed 42 RMD Feb-98 Explosives Act 27.11.2007
6 Umer Shehzad S/o Shehzad Hussain 16 From Punjab 10.08.08 Not Given 12.08.2008
7 Mohd. Salim S/o Nagar Mohd 37 304/02 Sect 39, Noida 01.07.02 420, 14 Forgn. Act 07.08.2008
8 Mohd. Riaz S/o Deen Mohd. 30 866/2000 Hauz Khas 23.10.00 Explosives Act 14 Forgn. Act 06.05.2009
9 Kamal S/o Sadiq Ali 37 866/2000 Hauz Khas 23.10.00 Explosives Act 14 Forgn. Act 06.05.2009
10 Mohd. Jameel S/o Mohd. Amin 32 866/2000 Hauz Khas 23.10.00 Explosives Act 14 Forgn. Act 23.04.2009
11 Rizwanul Haq S/o Muneerul Haq 41 866/2000 Hauz Khas 23.10.00 Explosives Act 14 Forgn. Act 06.12.2009
12 Iqrar Hussain S/o Anawal Ali Shah 22 302/08 IG Airport 24.08.08 14 Forgn Act 23.03.2009
13 Mohd. Tahir Saeed S/o Abdul Latif 25 301/08 IG Airport 24.08.08 14 Forgn Act 23.03.2009
14 ShaukatAli S/o Abdul Sattar 52 169/05 Chandi Mandir Panchkula (Pb) 14.09.05 14 Forgn Act 22.05.2009
15 Mohd. Saeed S/o Vilayat Hussain 52 42/05 Gokalpuri 08.03.05 O.S. Act 08.09.2009
16 Mohd. Ashraf S/o Hakim Ali 30 13//02 H.N. Deen Rly. Station 05.02.02 Pota, 14 Forgn Act 13.11.2009
17 Irshad Ali S/o Kamaluddin 40 66/07 P.P. Street 23.04.07 420, 14 Forgn Act 01.05.2009

(Note: This matter was also reported in the Indian Express dated January 10 and the Hindustan Times dated January 12, 2010. Now a Public Interest Ligitation (PIL) has been filed by Shri Sanjay Parikh and Shri Abinash Mishra, Advocates on behalf of Delhi PUCL in the Delhi High Court and the petition has been listed for hearing on January 20, 2010.) □

SEVENTEEN PAKISTANIS AWAITING DEPORTATION FROM FOREIGNERS’ DETENTION CAMP, LAMPUR, DELHI.

(A fact-finding Report of PUCL)

In the wake of three Pakistani detainees giving a slip to an FRRO Sub-Inspector and running away from his custody after visiting a hospital in New Delhi, PUCL conducted a fact-finding enquiry at the Lampur detention camp in Delhi to learn about the conditions in the camp. Mr. Mahi Pal Singh, General Secretary of Delhi PUCL and National Secretary of the organisation visited the camp on January 6, 2010. A team of about fifteen FRRO and police officers was at that time present at the camp to strengthen security so that no detainee could run away from the camp, oblivious of the fact that the three Pakistanis had run away not from the camp but from outside and that nobody has so far run away from the camp.

Mr. Mahi Pal Singh was not allowed to see the inmates of the camp for two hours and the FRRO Officers did not allow him even to take the signatures of Mr. M.S. Khan (on the Vakalatnama), one of the detainees lodged there for nearly one year in spite of having completed his sentence for entering the country without valid visa documents, for filing a writ petition in the Delhi High Court in spite of repeated requests, thus denying the detainee the right to legal aid in gross disregard of national and international laws. It was after more than two hours that Mr. Singh could see the inmates from a distance after the team of officers left the place. He could gather the information regarding those lodged in the camp later in the day telephonically only.

The inmates complained that the conditions at the camp were in no way different from a prison and they were not allowed even to arrange the purchase of sugar and tea from the market. One inmate was so brutally beaten up by the police in the camp that he had sustained head injuries and had to be hospitalised and given stitches in the head. It is perhaps because of such conditions that the three Pakistanis, who ran away from the custody, did not want to return to the camp at any cost, although they were reportedly going to be deported to Pakistan within a week’s time.

There are seventeen Pakistani nationals lodged in the camp, one of whom had approached PUCL about six months ago for help. Delhi PUCL then conducted an inquiry and wrote to the National Human Rights Commission to intervene in the matter and get these people deported to their respective countries but the NHRC did not take any action on the complaint. The detainees have been waiting in the camp from two months to about four years, after completing their sentences for the offences they were charged of committing, to be deported to their country but nobody in the government or the NHRC has cared to listen to them. If we are sensitive to the welfare and rights of our own nationals living or detained abroad, we should also be sensitive to the human rights of foreign nationals living or detained in our own country.

The table given below gives the details of the detainees at the Lampur camp.

In the light of the facts stated above, PUCL demands:

1.      that the inmates of the camp at Lampur be deported to their country at the earliest;

2.      that a mechanism should be developed for a periodical review of the detainees at   

      various camps meant for the detention of foreigners and they should be deported 

      to their respective countries at the earliest;

3.      that action should be initiated against the FRRO officers who were present at the camp on January 6, 2010 for denying a detainee his right to take legal aid in gross violation of national and international laws.     

PUCL has also decided to file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Delhi High Court in this matter because the detainee, Mr. M.S. Khan, was denied the chance to take legal aid (by signing the Vakalatnama).

 

(Mahi Pal Singh)

Secretary, National PUCL &

General Secretary, Delhi PUCL

Office:
270A, Patpar Ganj, , Mayur Vihar-I, Delhi-110091
ph. 22750014
     098106-56100 
www.pucl.org