Dr. Ayyaz returns home

Dr. Ayyaz Ali Khan, missing in Dubai, has been released by his captors following the HRCP’s urgent appeal

Dr Ayyaz Ali Khan, a noted Pakistani dentist, who was missing in Dubai for a couple of weeks, has been released. Following the HRCP’s Urgent Appeal for his recovery. He arrived in Islamabad on 8th June 2010.

URGENT APPEAL HRCP

Dr. Ayyaz Ali, Missing in UAE

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan requests your urgent intervention in the following situation

Description of the situation:

HRCP has been informed by Mrs. Shirin Khan about the missing of her husband Dr. Ayyaz Ali, a Pakistani in UAE

Dr. Ayyaz Ali Khan is an eminent scholar and a leading academician of Pakistan with an international repute in the filed of dental and oral health. He is head of the Dental Department, Sheikh Zayed Hospital, Lahore; Associate Dean Faculty of medicine & Dentistry University of the Punjab and Member of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC). He received the “ Research Publication Award 2009” by the National Health Research Council for over 96 national and international scientific publications. He has been the National Coordinator for Oral Health, WHO and is a HEC recognized supervisor for M/Phil/PhD. He is a dental scholar who has represented Pakistan on various international forums. He won two FDI Projects (International Dental Federation) in the region and has successfully completed them.

Due to his reputation he was asked to work as an adjunct Principal of Islamic International Dental College which is part of Riphah International University, Islamabad and also to provide the professional expertise for RAK College of Dental Science UAE ( A project of Riphah International University, Islamabad).His sole purpose of accepting this position was to extend and alleviate the name of Pakistan in the International Dental Education System and to get recognition of Pakistan Post graduate in UAE. . It is for this reason that he has been traveling frequently between Pakistan and Ras Al Khaimah, where he lives in an accommodation provided by the RAK College of Dental Science.

Dr. Ayyaz Ali Khan left Pakistan on 31st March 2010 for Ras-ul-Khaymah, UAE routinely to perform his professional duties for RAK College of Dental Sciences and he was in contact (cell phone) with his family till 4th April 2010. After that there has been no contact with the family and later it was revealed by a friend that he is missing since the early hours of 5th April 2010.

Dr. Ayyaz Ali Khan is a law abiding citizen and was not involved in any kind of politics.

Since April 4, 2010 he is missing and his whereabouts are not known.

It is apprehended that Dr. Ayyaz Ali Khan has been taken into custody by UAE agencies.

He has been denied Counselor access.
There is great threat to his life.

Dr. Ayyaz Ali Khan is still detained at “unknown location” and has not been given access to Pakistani Consulate.

According to Dr Khan’s family, the UAE security forces told them that they had no record of his arrest or detention.

HRCP apprehends ‘torture and ill-treatment’ of the arrested person.

“HRCP fears the arrest and detention of the Dr. Ayyaz, in conditions amounting to forced disappearance puts him at a great risk of torture or other ill-treatment

Action requested

Please write to the authorities in Pakistan/UAE urging them:

1. To disclose his whereabouts and the reason for his arrest.
2. To release the detainee immediately if he is not to be charged with a cognizable criminal offense.

3. To allow the family of the detainee to meet him.
4. He should be provided counsel access and medical care if required.

4. To protect him from torture and other ill-treatment while he is in detention.

5. To Pakistani authorities to immediately take up this matter with the government of UAE

Sample

We expressed our deep concern on the illegal detention of Dr. Ayyaz Ali Khan, an eminent scholar and a leading academician of Pakistan with an international repute in the field of dental and oral health, kept in illegal detention at UAE since 4 April 2010.

We demand that he is not tortured.
We urge that he is dealt with according to law and provided counselor access
We urge you that if there is no case against him he should be immediately released.
We urge you to provide him all kind of medical facilities.
We demand that his family should be allowed to meet him.

It would be appreciated if you send a copy of your letter to HRCP/Urgent Appeal (Zaman Khan)

Address:

1. Mr. Asif Ali Zardari
President of Pakistan
President’s Secretariat
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 51 922 1422, 4768/ 920 1893 or 1835
E-mail: (please see: http://www.presiden tofpakistan. gov.pk/WTPreside ntMessage. aspx)

2. Mr. Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani
Prime Minister
Prime Minister House
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 51 922 1596
Tel: +92 51 920 6111
E-mail: secretary@cabinet. gov.pk

Mr. Shah Mahmood Qureshi
Minister of Foreign Affair
Government of Pakistan
Islamabad

3. Mr. Rehman Malik
Minister for Interior
R Block Pak Secretariat
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Tel: +92 51 9212026
Fax: +92 51 9202624
E-mail: ministry.interior@ gmail.com or interior.complaintc ell@gmail. com

Excellency
Amir
United Arab Emirates
UAE

His Excellency Ali Saif Sultan Al-Awani,
The Ambassador of UAE,
Embassy of UAE
Diplomatic Enclave,
Plot No. 122, Sector G-5,
Islamabad
Phone. 92-51-2099999
Fax.. 92-51-2206732

Millions suffer in ‘human rights free zone’ in northwest Pakistan – Amnesty International

Millions of Pakistanis in the northwest tribal areas live in a human rights free zone where they have no legal protection by the government and are subject to abuses by the Taleban

Millions of Pakistanis in the northwest tribal areas live in a human rights free zone where they have no legal protection by the government and are subject to abuses by the Taleban, Amnesty International said in a major report released on Thursday.

“Nearly 4 million people are effectively living under the Taleban in northwest Pakistan without rule of law and effectively abandoned by the Pakistani government,” said Claudio Cordone, Amnesty International’s interim Secretary General.

The 130-page report, ‘As if Hell Fell on Me’: The Human Rights Crisis in Northwest Pakistan, is based on nearly 300 interviews with residents of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and adjacent areas of the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP). The report gives voice to those whose experiences are rarely reported and reveals the abuses faced by the region’s residents.

“There are still more than 1 million people who were displaced from their homes in Pakistan’s northwest tribal belt by the conflict with the Taleban whose plight is largely ignored and are in desperate need of aid,” said Claudio Cordone.

Amnesty International’s review of available information also suggests that at least 1,300 civilians were killed in the fighting in northwest Pakistan in 2009, from a total of more than 8,500 casualties (including combatants).

The report documents the systematic abuses carried out by the Taleban as they established their rule by killing those who challenge their authority, such as tribal elders and government officials.

They imposed their rule through torture and other ill-treatment, targeting teachers, aid workers and political activists. The Taleban have particularly targeted women and schools and health clinics catering to their needs.

Amnesty International was told of Taleban insurgents blocking roads to prevent civilians from escaping as villages fell under heavy bombardment by government forces. The insurgents also increased the likelihood of civilian causalities by dispersing themselves among civilians and in and around schools.

Successive Pakistani governments have treated the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan with disdain, ignoring the rights of the area’s residents, particular in FATA.

Over the past decade, Pakistan’s government has veered from appeasing the Pakistani Taleban through a series of failed “peace deals” to launching heavy handed military operations that include indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks.

The USA’s use of drones to target insurgents in northwest Pakistan has generated considerable resentment inside Pakistan. Amnesty International has called on the USA to clarify its chain of command and rules of engagement for the use of drones and ensure proper accountability for civilian casualties.

Many displaced residents of the area told Amnesty International that they had suffered under the Taleban and felt abandoned by the Pakistani government. In the words of one teacher who fled Swat with his family in March 2009:

The government just gave away our lives to the Taleban. What’s the point of having this huge army if it can’t even protect us against a group of brutal fanatics? They took over my school and started to teach children about how to fight in Afghanistan. They kicked out the girls from school, told the men to grow their beards, threatened anybody they didn’t like. Our government and our military never tried to protect us from this.

The residents of FATA continue to be governed by a colonial-era law, the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) of 1901, which denies basic constitutional rights and protections for the residents of FATA, including their rights to political representation, judicial appeal, and freedom from collective punishment.

“For years, FATA has been treated as a stage for geopolitical rivalries and is currently in focus because of the conflict in neighbouring Afghanistan and the search for al-Qa’ida, rather than the rights of the people living there,” said Claudio Cordone. “The Pakistani government should not just respond using military force; it needs to provide and protect the basic rights of its citizens living there.”

The FCR gives a government-appointed Political Agent ultimate judicial and executive authority, including the ability to carry out communal punishment, including formal detention, by holding all members of a tribe potentially responsible for alleged infractions committed by any tribe member.

The Constitution of Pakistan of 1973 explicitly excludes FATA from the legal, judicial and parliamentary system of Pakistan, including barring residents from full representation in parliament and from bringing appeals to a higher court outside the territory.

The government of Pakistan has recently promised to reform the FCR but this has not yet happened.

“The Pakistani government has to follow through on its promises to bring the region out of this human rights black hole and place the people of FATA under the protection of the law and constitution of Pakistan,” said Claudio Cordone. “There is no quick fix for decades of misrule and the conflict of the past few years, but the road to recovery starts with recognizing the rights of the people of FATA.”

Amnesty International urges both the Pakistani government and the Taleban to comply with international humanitarian law by taking all measures to prevent loss of civilian life and buildings including hospitals and schools and allowing unfettered NGO access to provide food, shelter and medical supplies to the injured and displaced.

For more detail click here.
http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/report/millions-suffer-human-rights-free-zone-northwest-pakistan-2010-06-10

HRCP probe finds manipulation, politicization of judiciary in AJK

Lahore, June 10, 2010: The recent controversy over the appointment of judges to the superior courts of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) has exposed constant manipulation of the judiciary by the executive and the consequent politicization of the judiciary in AJK, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has said.

Launching the report of an HRCP fact-finding mission into the upheaval in the AJK judiciary, on Thursday, the Commission said that political interference must end in order to strengthen the justice system in AJK. The report can be accessed at: http://www.hrcp-web.org/pdf/AJK_Report.pdf

The judicial crisis brewing in AJK for the last several years had started with the appointment of Justice Reaz Akhtar Chaudhry as Chief Justice of the AJK Supreme Court in October 2006. Justice Chaudhry had merely spent three weeks as judge of the apex court when he was made the AJK chief Justice, superseding a more senior judge, Justice Manzoor Hussain Gillani.

A number of petitions were filed in the AJK High Court and the Supreme Court of Pakistan by lawyers and members of AJK superior judiciary, challenging appointment of judges to superior courts in AJK. References were submitted to the AJK Supreme Judicial Council against Chief Justice Chaudhry and Justice Gillani. Both the judges resigned in May 2010.

Shortly before the resignations, the polarization had reached the point that lawyers protesting against one of the judges had accused the judge of blasphemy based on a sentence he had written in one of his judgments. The AJK Supreme Judicial Council had also concluded that blasphemy had been committed and had cited it as one of the grounds for removal of the judge in question. HRCP said that it was astonished by the charge and added that “such dangerous allegations against judges can become a terrifying trend if not effectively discouraged… There can be no independence for the judiciary if judges are not protected against sanctions for expressing themselves through their judgments.”

The HRCP report added that the two judges’ “departure will not remove the root causes of tension within the political and judicial systems of AJK. These must be addressed so that the citizens of AJK can enjoy basic human rights, build a democratic political system and strengthen the rule of law.”

HRCP added that it is critical that all appointments and promotions of judges of the superior courts in AJK are made on merit, through a proper consultative process and without capricious interference from the executive authorities established through the constitutional framework of AJK.

HRCP recommended that a serving judge should not head the AJK Election Commission, which should be made a permanent and autonomous body. HRCP added that the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner should be made in consultation with the AJK prime minister, leader of the opposition and chief justice of AJK Supreme Court, in order to remove serious doubts cast on the election process.
HRCP emphasised an enhanced role of the civil society of Pakistan and AJK, in particular bar associations, to monitor general elections of AJK. HRCP said that the powers shared between the authorities in AJK and the AJK Council, headed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, should be rationalized on democratic principles, notwithstanding the peculiar status of AJK.

The HRCP mission concluded, “[i]nterference in the appointment of judges in AJK has not ended [even though the two SC judges have resigned]. Lawyers in AJK have ended their protests but surely the issue was not about the appointment of one individual but graver issues are at stake in AJK. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan can only hope that institutional changes rather than the change of a few faces will be adopted as a policy in AJK and by the Government of Pakistan.”

Asma Jahangir Chairperson

I. A. Rehman Secretary-General

HRCP welcomes ratification of ICCPR, CAT

Lahore, June 07: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has welcomed ratification by Pakistan of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention Against Torture (CAT), and demanded that the generalized reservations Islamabad has made with regard to the two treaties must not undermine the ratification itself. In a statement issued on Monday, HRCP said: “The ICCPR and CAT are two of the key international human rights treaties and their ratification by Pakistan is welcome news and a good first step in the right direction. However, ratification of any treaty is only as significant or effective as the will of the ratifying state to implement it. Pakistan must now take meaningful steps to make sure that all rights provided under the two treaties are made enforceable domestically and that the laws and practices in the country are changed accordingly. Torture is widespread in Pakistan, with police and security agencies the most frequent offenders. In line with the provisions of CAT, the government must give a fair and enforceable right of compensation to all victims of torture in Pakistan.

Pakistan has made a number of reservations in the instruments of ratification, including ‘reservations protecting national rights relating to…anything repugnant to the provisions of the Constitution of Pakistan’. HRCP had wished that the ratifications would demonstrate Pakistan’s absolute commitment to human rights and would be without reservations. The Commission is concerned that subjecting the ratifications to generalized and sweeping exceptions and reservations could defeat the purpose of ratification.”

by: Asma Jahangir Chairperson Chairperson

HRCP concerned over governance issues, exit of honest officers

Lahore, June 04: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has expressed alarm at the deteriorating level of governance in the country and has called the departure of the State Bank of Pakistan governor another example of officials, who are unwilling to bow to pressure, being shown the door.

A statement issued by the Commission of Friday said: “The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has watched with concern the deteriorating level of governance in the country. It is true that the federal and provincial governments are facing numerous challenges because of the spread of militancy and the utter chaos they inherited from the previous regime.

At the same time, it is regrettable that nepotism, corruption and self-interest continue to be a priority of the government. It is evident that such malpractices take a heavy toll on people’s right to transparent and efficient governance that alone can bring prosperity and security. The recent departure of the governor of the State Bank of Pakistan on the eve of presentation of the annual budget is another example of easing out honest and upright officials who are unwilling to bow to unreasonable pressures. HRCP believes that the public and the press must continue to hold the government accountable for its decisions of appointments to key institutions. The appointment of the new governor of the State Bank of Pakistan should be watched closely and HRCP urges the government to respect merit rather than personal loyalties while making such crucial decisions. It encourages upright officials to put the interest of the people as a priority and resist pressures that may induce them to ignore malpractices.”

Asma Jahangir Chairperson