HRCP delegation met with the Chief Minister of Sindh

HRCP delegation met with the Chief Minister of Sindh

 

HRCP has been holding consultations on human rights issues confronting the country. With a new democratically elected government in power, HRCP believes it is time to share concerns and proposals with political leaders.

 

Therefore, a delegation of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan headed by Iqbal Haider, Co-Chairperson HRCP, comprising of Uzma Noorani, Asad Iqbal Butt, Sindh Council Members of HRCP, and Ejaz Ahsan, Program Coordinator, HRCP had a meeting with Mr. Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Chief Minister of Sindh at CM House on June 5, 2008.

 

HRCP delegation shared a copy of policy statement of HRCP on critical issues of human rights, for the consideration and support of PPP leadership . This policy statement was adopted by the General Body at HRCP’s Annual General Meeting held recently.

 

CM promised moving necessary resolutions and bill for legislation wherever required, for expeditious implementation of the recommendations of HRCP on human rights issues.

 

HRCP also expressed concern over marrying off 15 under-age girls to settle tribal dispute through a jirga held in Chach village, Kashmore-Kandhkot and demanded that the provincial government take immediate action against all those responsible for the illegal and inhuman decisions and ensure immediate release of the minor girls.

 

Iqbal Haider also presented the recently published, Annual Report of HRCP “State of Human Rights in 2007″ to the CM.

 

Policy Statement of HRCP Continue reading

Speech of Muneer Malik, former president of Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association at the award ceremony at South Korea

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, AHRC-ANM-006-2008
June 2, 2008

An Announcement by the Asian Human Rights Commission

 

ASIA: Speech of the Mr. Muneer Malik, former president of Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association at the award ceremony at Gwangju at South Korea

 

We wish to share with you the following speech of Mr. Muneer Malik, delivered on his acceptance of the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights. He received the human rights award on May 18, 2008 on the occasion of the 518 International Solidarity Program, held in commemoration of the great people’s movement in Gwangju, South Korea against the military dictatorship and for democracy.

 

Valedictory Speech of Munir Malik Continue reading

HRCP denounces fresh curbs on Aitzaz and Tariq

Lahore, February 4: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) regrets that the government could not stomach its good act of restoring Aitzaz Ahsan and Tariq Mahmood to freedom for more than 24 hours. The tactic used by the government to evade its obligation to refer their cases to the Review Board reminds one of practices favoured by autocrats of the most contemptible variety. An administration that circumvents its legal and moral duties in this manner undermines the very foundations of an order based on respect for law. What makes the action against these distinguished lawyers reprehensible, from the very first day of their incarceration, is the fact that they have not been accused of any offence, and what they are supported to be prevented from doing is not a crime in any democratic dispensation. Their detention at the moment also amounts to a crude interference with the electoral process. The orders of their detention must be withdrawn forthwith. 

Iqbal Haider

Secretary – General

Iftikhar Day

Iftikhar Day, January 31, 2008

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Endorsing the call of the Sindh High Court Bar Association and Karachi Bar Association to celebrate the Iftikhar Day on January 31, 2008, activists of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and representatives of several civil society organizations gathered outside the Karachi Press Club, with the portraits of Chief Justice Iftikahr Chaudhry, and expressed solidarity with the lawyers’ movement for the freedom of justice in Pakistan. Participants chanted anti-government slogans and held banners and placards demanding restoration of deposed judges, the constitution and revival of human rights in Pakistan.

Later on a rally of hundreds of lawyers, led by Mr. Munir A. Malik, Mr. Rasheed A. Rizvi and Mr. Iqbal Haider, Secretary General of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, also joined the demonstrators at Karachi Press Club.

Addressing the gathering, Mr. Munir A. Malik and Mr. Rasheed Rizvi strongly demanded that:

· Mr. Iftikhar Chaudhry, Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Pakistan and other judges of Supreme Court and high courts should immediately be re-instated.

· Mr. Tariq Mehmood Advocate, Mr. Ali Ahmed Kurd and Mr. Aitazaz Ahsan must be released immediately

· Curb on print and electronic media should be lifted;

· Lawyers, political and human rights activists arrested all over the country must immediately be released unconditionally;

· Freedom of association and political activities should not be curbed

Open Letter from the Chief Justice of Pakistan

 

 

AN OPEN LETTER TO:

His Excellency
The President of the European Parliament,

Brussels.

His Excellency
The President of
France,
Paris.

His Excellency
The Prime Minister of the
United Kingdom,
London.

Her Excellency
Ms. Condaleeza Rice,
Secretary of State,

United States of America,
Washington D.C.

Professor Klaus Schwab,
World Economic Forum,

Geneva.

All through their respective Ambassodors, High Commissioners and representatives.

Excellency,

I am the Chief Justice of Pakistan presently detained in my residence since November 3, 2007 pursuant to some verbal, and unspecified, order passed by General Musharraf.

I have found it necessary to write to you, and others, because during his recent visits to Brussels, Paris, Davos and London General Musharraf has slandered me, and my colleagues, with impunity in press conferences and other addresses and meetings. In addition he has widely distributed, among those whom he has met, a slanderous document (hereinafter the Document) entitled: “PROFILE OF THE FORMER CHIEF JUSTICE OF PAKISTAN”. I might have let this go unresponded but the Document, unfortunately, is such an outrage that, with respect, it is surprising that a person claiming to be head of state should fall to such depths as to circulate such calumny against the Chief Justice of his own country. Continue reading

HRCP: Civil society for change at the top, fairplay and citizens’ rights

Press release

Civil society for change at the top, fairplay and citizens’ rights

Activists of civil society organizations and concerned citizens, including representatives of the four provinces, met at HRCP office in Lahore on January 4th 2008 to discuss the over-all situation and the upcoming elections and summed up their concerns and demands in the following statement:

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto has made the situation in Pakistan much worse. Elections have been postponed despite the demand by the main parties, including the most severely affected PPP, to stick to the scheduled date of January 8 2008. The new date for elections has been set for February 18, but there are apprehensions of further postponement and lawlessness. General Musharraf’s decision to use the army during and after the elections is ominous as it aims to stifle dissent and public opinion through the use of force. The participants demanded that there must be no further delay in elections as this will only exacerbate the crisis of state and society.

The participants condemned lawlessness regardless of the identity of culprits but insisted that a clear distinction must be made between those who have indulged in looting and destroyed public property and those who gave vent to their spontaneous grief and shock. They expressed concern at reports that the government is using these disturbances as an excuse to enter people’s homes, arrest thousands of party workers and create an environment of fear. The participants strongly and unequivocally condemned the attempt to give an ethnic colour to the tragedy and its aftermath for electoral advantage. They demanded that all political workers must be released immediately and allowed to exercise their democratic rights, otherwise the tendency to single out and blame one party for the disturbances will send wrong signals to the victims and further undermine the federal bond.

It is time for General Musharraf and everyone else to recognize that he is now a major part of the problem rather than a part of the solution. He must accept responsibility for actions and developments that have contributed to the national crisis, especially since August 2006, such as the killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti in Balochistan: the firing of the Chief Justice of Pakistan, mishandling of the Lal Masjid incident, removal of the majority of the superior judiciary, imposition of Martial Law under the guise of Emergency and the absolute failure to make adequate security arrangements that resulted in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. He should quit office forthwith, and allow the assemblies that will come into existence after the elections to elect the president.

Noting that an independent judiciary is critical to the functioning of a democratic state and order in society, the participants called for the restoration of the judges who have been illegally removed from office. The independence of the judiciary cannot become a reality unless the key institution of the superior judiciary is strong and secure. The judges who took a principled stand rather than follow the precedent of bowing to the whims of the executive have set a very different standard for the institution, eliciting country-wide resonance. Their phenomenal act must be fully and unequivocally endorsed by political parties and society at large. And this can only be done, operationally, by ensuring their restoration. The participants called upon both the parties participating in and those boycotting the elections to come together to ensure the restoration of the superior judiciary.

The independence of the judiciary and the promotion of people’s democratic aspirations has been the central concern of the lawyers’ movement. Bar associations have led a remarkable struggle since March 2007 and put up with state oppression and all kinds of other hardships without faltering. Participants were of the view that the lawyers should be extended full support by the other sections of civil society and political parties to continue their struggle.

The participants demanded repeal of the PEMRA ordinance and removal of all restrictions on the media.

The meeting noted that the real menace of militancy and extremism has to be contested politically. Under no circumstance must force be used indiscriminately as such a policy has led to the death of innocent civilians. This is the inevitable fall-out of an undemocratic state and lack of consensus on the basis of a political strategy. In this regard the meeting took a serious view of General Musharraf’s snide and derogatory comments on Pakistani society which he claims is not developed enough to deserve democracy and democratic institutions. Such unmerited denigration is what emboldens the regime’s external patrons, the United States in particular, to assume that Pakistan can deserve nothing better than autocracy and rule by decree. The government’s continued collusion with the US administration has seriously damaged Pakistan’s sovereignty and turned it into a rentier state that puts the interest of the US before the interests of its own people.

The participants noted that the government’s claim of good governance and economic growth are belied by the rising cost of food and essential items. A minimum of eight-hour power cuts, shortages of water and gas are seriously impacting ion people’s lives and livelihoods. As always, the worst hit are the vulnerable sections of society: the poor, women, minorities and children.

The manifestos of the political parties taking part in the elections were discussed at the meeting. While appreciating the parties’ efforts to address the many issues confronting the state and the people, the participants expressed the view that greater attention needed to be paid to the means of combating religious extremism, discrimination against women, minorities and the economically marginalized. It was also necessary to plan for the elimination of poverty and guarantee a fair deal to the tillers of the soil and the working people.

There was unanimity on the point that Pakistan’s tribulations will not end so long as the socio-political economic system was not changed. This means that even after the polls – and assuming the acceptance of results by the people – those sitting in assemblies and those boycotting the polls both will face the challenge of putting the state back on the rails. The people of Pakistan call upon the political parties to knit together and integrate all parts of the federation and to reform all legal, administrative and political structures so as to end denial of full citizenship and other basic rights to the peoples of the Northern Areas and FATA, and to adopt measures that could ensure that equity and justice will govern the relationship between the provinces. Without such steps, no progress will be possible.

I. A. Rehman

Director HRCP

HRCP condemns extended detention of Aitzaz Ahsan,Ali Kurd,Tariq Mehmood

PRESS STATEMENT Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Karachi: Senator (R) Iqbal Haider, Secretary General of HRCP, in a Statement issued to the Press has strongly condemned extension of the illegal detention of Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, President of Supreme Court Bar Association as well as of Mr. Ali Ahmed Kurd, Member of the Pakistan Bar Council and the continued illegal detention of Mr. Justice (R) Tariq Mehmood, Former President of Supreme Court Bar Association. This illegal decision of the present regime is not only without any legal or moral reason or justification but is on account of personal vengeance and vendetta, only because these senior leaders of the lawyers community had successfully pleaded the case of the Chief Justice Mr. Justice Iftekhar Muhammad Chaudhary and have played and are continuing to play a commendable heroic role in the lawyers movement for independence of judiciary, rule of law, freedom of press and restoration of true uncontrolled democracy.

Mr. Haider expressed his shock and dismay that despite repeated requests to the federal and provincial governments as well as to the jail authorities, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsas, who is also a prominent central leader of PPP, Former Federal Minister and MNA was not even allowed, against all norms of decency and ethics, to attend the funeral or soyam or to personally offer condolence to the bereaved family and his party peers on the most condemnable tragic assassination of his leader Mohtarma Banazir Bhutto. This is height of vengeance, vendetta, bias and prejudice of the regime, who is hell bent upon to deny Barrister Ahsan the right to interact with his colleagues in PPP and members of the Bar.

Mr. Haider recalled that one day before Eid-ul-Azha Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan was released for three days to enable him to celebrate Eid but was re-arrested on the same day at Chakri interchange on the motorway and was manhandled by plainclothes policemen. He was then driven around and about Chakri and Chakwal in the middle of the night in an open police van and brought to Lahore in the morning. The reprieve granted to him was also cancelled.

The HRCP Secretary General has demanded forthwith release of Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, Mr. Justice (R) Tariq Mahmood, Mr. Ali Ahmed Kurd and all other lawyers and warned the Government that at this crucial juncture and worst crises being faced political condition in the country will further aggravate if such illegal and vindictive policy and actions are not forthwith withdrawn by the regime.

Senator (R) Iqbal Haider
Secretary General