For favour of publication

Press Release, 6 August 2009

Lahore: A Reference for the pioneering student leader Dr. Muhammad Sarwar will be held here at HRCP’s  Dorab Patel Auditorium on Saturday August 8 at 5 p.m.

Dr. Muhammad Sarwar was amongst founding leaders of the Democratic Students Federation (DSF) and  the All Pakistan Students Organisation (APSO).  He was also instrumental in the formation of Inter-Collegiate Body of Karachi (ICB) which along with DSF spearheaded the students struggle for the acceptance of students charter of demands in 1953.

Twice elected to the office of General Secretary (national), Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) that continues to play a leading role in the affairs of medical profession, Dr. Muhammad Sarwar was amongst those who had formulated a people-friendly health policy. It was unfortunate that the policy, duly presented to the concerned quarters by the PMA, remains unimplemented.

Born at Allahabad, Dr. Sarwar came to Pakistan in 1948 and joined Dow Medical College,Karachi. After graduation he practiced for over forty (40) years at his clinic in the lower middle class locality, Golimar,

Coinciding with his Birthday, the Reference for Dr.Muhammmad  Sarwar,  will be addressed by Mr. Hameed Akhtar; Mr.I.A. Rehman;Mr. Abid Hasan Manto;Dr. Haroon Ahmad, Dr. M. Ilyas, Prof. Afzal  Tauseef, Ms. Salima Hashmi; Dr.Izhar Chaudhry General Secretary PMA,Punjab, Mr.Farooq Tariq LPP leader,Mr.S.M. Naseem former editor “Students’ Herald”, Zaman Khan, Ammar Ali Jan, Dr. Farrukh Gulzar and Dr. Zakia Sarwar.

The Reference will be followed by tea. Later, participants may join discussion to be facilitated by Mr. S.M. Naseem, Beena Sarwar and Ali Cheema.

Issued on behalf of: Friends and Admirers of Dr. Muhammad Sarwar
By Husain Naqi

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HRCP against Encroaching personal freedoms

Press Release, July 17, 2009

LAHORE,: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) condemns the government’s move intended to use state power to prosecute and punish certain kind of messaging through cellular phone networks and content on the websites and calls upon the government to withdraw such measures and desist from introducing any law to this effect.

The HRCP statement said:

In recent days, federal government representatives have expressed the government’s intention to introduce a law to prosecute and punish people who indulge in certain kind of messaging (SMS) through cellular phone networks.

The government has announced that messages containing any content against the state or immoral material would be punishable under the law. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan views proposed measures with concern and as an intrusion into the personal liberties of citizens. The government seems to be embarrassed by criticism of certain government officials and policies and actions in the messaging of the people on cell phones and blogs on websites and intends to muzzle the people’s voice by curtailing their freedom of expression.

The Commission is of the view that this is not the way to persuade people to respect a government which does not earn this status by its deeds. The Commission also believes that the recent modification in the government’s stance that the law would be directed against those who speak against the state and not against those who only attack the government is meaningless because in Pakistan the government has often been treated as the state.

The Commission demands of the government to stay away from enforcing any legislation to this effect which will not only be violation of people’s human rights but hamper the nascent democratic process in the country.  The HRCP is of view that the new means of electronic communication pose a challenge to all governments and societies and a way will have to be found to deal with the explosion of communication without encroaching upon personal freedoms.

Asma Jahangir
Chairperson

HRCP grieved over death of Lourdes Joseph

Press Release, 8 June 2009

Lahore: The Human Rights Commission has condoled the death of Ms Lourdes Joseph, who passed away in Dubai on Monday morning.

Ms. Joseph served for many years at HRCP’s Karachi office and was one of the earliest members of the HRCP Secretariat. She had suffered a stroke a few years ago, but recovered sufficiently to continue working and retired last year. Her contribution toward the cause of human rights will be remembered.

I. A. Rehman

Secretary-General

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.

Anti-terrorism demo on Saturday

Anti-terrorism demo on Saturday

Press release, April 1

Lahore: A Lahore citizens’ rally will be held outside the Lahore High Court building on Saturday, April 4, 2009, at 4-30 pm to demonstrate the people’s will to resist and defeat the terrorists. Later on the participants will march peacefully up to the Charing Cross. A decision to organise this demonstration was taken on Tuesday at a largely attended meeting of the members of the Joint Action Committee for People’s Rights, other civil society organisations, human rights activists, political workers, lawyers, women’s rights organisations, and students.

The meeting decided that the people of Lahore had a duty to offer a befitting reply to the terrorists who had been targeting the country’s civilian population and the security personnel, the most recent example being the raid on the police training centre at Manawan. The meeting also decided to hold consultations after Saturday’s rally to evolve a long-term programme for mobilizing the people for fighting the menace of terrorism.

I. A. Rehman

Secretary-General, HRCP

Call to join rally against terrorism

Lahore, April 1: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) calls upon all political workers, lawyers, civil society organisations, trade unions, women activists, human rights campaigners, writers, artists, teachers and the youth to join the anti-terrorism rally in Lahore on Saturday, April 4, 2009. (Outside the Lahore High Court at 4.30 pm.). It is necessary to tell the terrorists that the people of Lahore shall not meekly suffer their cowardly attacks.

Asma Jahangir

Chairperson, HRCP

Judges’ restoration a good first step: HRCP

Press Release, March 16, 2009

Lahore: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has welcomed the restoration of judiciary as a first step towards strengthening democracy and rule of law and said the people of Pakistan have sent a clear message that they will not settle for a sham democratic process.

A statement issued by the Commission on Monday said: “The HRCP welcomes the restoration of superior court judges and congratulates lawyers, the civil society, political parties – including the Pakistan People’s Party – and above all the people of Pakistan, who again demonstrated their ability for a worthy cause whenever they found one. We wish Monday morning’s decision had been taken earlier. Still the announcement revealed the difference of approach between a military regime and a civilian democracy. This is a clear message from the people to leaders of all political parties that they will not settle for a sham democracy.

However, this is merely the first step. Real challenges now begin and the people expect that they will get not only an independent judiciary but also justice. This will not come about automatically but will require some doing. The people also expect that the restoration of judges will ensure the rule of law and independence of judiciary and also that the parliament will make earnest efforts to save the judiciary from the harmful effects of politicization.

The HRCP has all along been concerned about the lack of independence of the Election Commission and of a satisfactory mechanism for the appointment, tenure and terms of service of members of the superior judiciary. An independent Election Commission is crucial for the democratic system to go forward in a smooth and non-contentious manner. Similarly, mechanisms for appointments and accountability of judges must enjoy the confidence of the legal fraternity and the people. The people expect speedy progress on federation-making, guarantees of provincial autonomy and priority to economic concerns of the people, specially their need for relief from unemployment and poverty. In addition, just as people from all schools of thought had come together for the cause of the judiciary and democracy, the people expect all political parties to get together to promote democratic governance and improve the level of social justice in the country.”

Asma Jahangir Chairperson