By Khalid Hashmani
Sindhi Victims of Enforced Disappearances
It looks like the powers that fully or partially control Pakistan have found a new target to vent their anger – the Sindhi nationalists! With Baloch nationalists continuing to win more and more public relations battles against those who are bent upon enforced control of Balochistan, these forces have now unleashed their fury on Sindhis. Not a single day goes by without a story about a Sindhi nationalist disappearing or a bullet-riddled body of a Sindhi young man being found. The federal and provincial governments that won largely because of support of Sindhi masses are pre-occupied with looting more and more and/or saving their government from another group of looters and dictators. They seldom find courage to come to the rescue of Sindhis whether they are victims of severe floods or victims of enforced disappearances. Sindhis must realize that they cannot solely rely on international human rights’ organizations to fight for their human rights and the time has come for them to get involved and demand justice for Sindhi victims of Enforced Disappearances. A partial list of missing persons who are presumed to have fallen victims of enforced disappearances include:
1. Sanaullah Bhatti – He was kidnapped on February 7, 2011 from the city of Hyderabad.
2. Muzafar Bhutto – Kidnapped on February 24, 2011.
3. Riaz Kakepoto – Kidnapped from Rainbow Center Karachi on April 11, 2011.
4. Ali Nawab Mahar – Also kidnapped from Rainbow Center Karachi on April 11, 2011.
5. Shah Nawaz Bhutto – Also kidnapped from Rainbow Center Karachi on April 11, 2011.
6. Jam Bhutto – Also kidnapped from Rainbow Center Karachi on April 11, 2011.
7. Lala Yasir – Kdnapped from Karachi.
8. Shafqat Brohi He is a clerk of Maleer Court Karachi and was kidnapped from Karachi.
9. Afzal Pahnwar – A student of the University of Sindh, kidnapped on June 26, 2011.
10. Mukhtiar Pahnwar – kidnapped on September 28, 2011 from Chandni Chowk, Hyderabad.
11. Babar Jamali – Kidnapped on December 8, 2011 near Hyderabad by-pass Gas Station.
12. Mohummad Bashir Arisar disappeared on 17 November, 2011.
13. Ahsan Malano disappeared on 17 November, 2011.
14. Mohsin Shah disappeared on 17 November, 2011.
15. Noor Muhammed Khaskheli.
16. Shahid Notayar.
17. Shoukat Brohi.
18. Faisal Wagan.
19. Mohammed Brohi.
20. Nadeem Lashari.
21. G M Abro.
22. Noor Abro.
23. Anwar Depar.
24. Yasir Notiar.
25. Zulfiqar Jamali.
26. Hameed Shar.
27. Ali Bachal Themor.
28. Ghulam Kadir Boryio.
29. Taj Mohammed Themor.
30. Mohammed Boryio.
In a recent press statement, Dr. Rubina Greenwood, Vice Chairperson of World Sindhi Congress (WSC) said that a number of prominent political leaders and activists have been killed. Those who lost their lives in 2011 include:
1. Zulfiqar Kolachi
2. Aijaz Solangi
3. Sirai Qurban Khuhawr
4. Roplo Choliani
5. Nadir Bugti
6. Noorullah Tunio
7. Haji Abubakar
8. Abdul Ganai Mirbahar
Abduction Details about some Sindhi victims
Babar Jamali – An article published in daily “IBRAT”, one of the largest newspapers in Sindh dated February 12, 2012, contains the heart-wrenching details of this young man. The article is written by Razak Khatti (Razak.Khatti@gmail.com) and is based upon the account given by Babar’s father Ghulam Hussain Khatti, who was with his son when the security agencies forcibly abducted Babar. The story is titled “Where is Babar Jamali?” Babar was abducted on December 8, 2011 and no police or any other security agency has yet acknowledged his arrest and said that he is under their custody He was captured waiting in a line to purchase some gas for his car. Both his father and mother were with him when several personnel from police and security agencies grabbed from his car after someone whose face was covered with cloth pointed his finger to Babar Jamali. The victim was severely beaten and put in a white police car and driven away. The police have refused to file a FIR for his disappearance and the petitions by his father and mother to Sindh High Court and officials of the government have yielded neither any information about his whereabouts nor shown any hope that he will be released. More details about his case can be found in an article that is titled “But where is Babar Jamali?” that can be accessed at http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2012/02/but-where-is-babar-jamali/.
Afzal Ali Panhwar – The Asian Human Rights Commission has taken up his case. It is hoped that they have either already filed or will soon file his case with the “UN working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances”. They sent a worldwide appeal on October 11, 2011. According to the AHRC appeal, Mr. Panhwar was a student of M. Sc. Biochemistry at Sindh University, Jamshoro in Sindh and was a resident of a university dormitory.
He had filed a constitutional petition on May 11, 2011 in Sindh High Court seeking the expulsion of police personnel from the student hostels of the university.
As his petition was being heard in the Sindh high court, the police and plain clothed persons arrested Panhwar on June 26, just one month after his petition, from the Hyder Chowk, near Rabia plaza, a crowded market place, at 6.00 pm when he was returning from the university.
Sanaullah Bhatti – resident of house number 1234/74 Civil Hospital road, Tando Muhammad Khan, Sindh, was arrested by the police and the plain clothed persons on July 2, when Bhatti and his friend Yaqoob Mallah were coming from Tando Muhammad Khan. As they reached Giddu Chowk, Hyderabad, Sindh province, the DPO stopped them and Bhatti was pushed into a vehicle which, as in the previous incident, did not bear a registration plate. Since then his whereabouts are unknown. The DPO has since denied that he had arrested Sanaullah Bhutto. However, Yaqoob Mallah states that he witnessed Bhatti’s arrest and that the DPO was definitely involved.
What can be done to help Sindhi victims of Enforced Disappearance?
There are many venues that people of the world; particularly overseas Sindhis can pursue to seek justice for the victims of enforced disappearances. The first and foremost step is o create the awareness about these disappearances among Pakistanis and among the international Human Rights’ organizations including “UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances”. The most disciplined and organized way in which Sindhis can individually or collectively help victims is to adopt a victim of enforced disappearance. The following are suggested steps to save a victim’s life and/or have a victim freed from the clutches of cruel perpetuators:
A. Contact the family or friends of the victim and research reliable sources and collect details of disappearance.
- Collect information on Identity of victim (Full Name, etc.), Date on which abduction or disappearance occurred, Place where abduction took place, Forces believed to be responsible for abduction (Names of Security agencies or persons) and Actions Taken by Relatives to locate the abducted person,
- Details on how the disappearance took place.
- Information on State or State-supported forces believed to be responsible for the disappearance. If the perpetrators are believed to be State agents, find out who and why it is believed that they are responsible. Determine whether were military and/or police personnel, persons in uniform or civilian clothes, agents of security services, unit to which they belong, rank and functions, identifications presented, etc. If identification as State agents is not possible, find out why victim’s family believes that Government authorities, or persons linked to them, may be responsible for the incident.
- If there are witnesses to the incident get information such as names and relations to the victim and note if they wish to remain anonymous. Find out if the witnesses are relatives, by-standers, or others.
- Collect any other relevant information that could be useful to find the victim.
- Gather information on any action taken (police inquiries, jail, human rights commission, habeas corpus petition etc.) by relatives or others to locate the person:(a) Complaints (when, by whom, and before which organ/s).
(b) Other steps taken (when, by whom, and before which organ/s).
(c) If no action was taken, find out why no action was taken.
B. Contact Human Rights Organizations in Pakistan and else where and simply provide them the information on your adopted victim of enforced disappearance and appeal them to help locate and secure the freedom of victim.
- The Carter Center – firstname.lastname@example.org – http://www.cartercenter.org/about/contact.html
- Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) – email@example.com –
- The Amnesty International – http://www.amnesty.org/
- Human Rights First – http://www.humanrightsfirst.org
- International League of Human Rights – http://www.ilhr.org
- Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) – http://www.humanrights.asia
- Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Human Rights Watch – http://www.hrw.org
The increasing cases of enforced disappearance in Sindh show that having failed to stop nationalist movement in Balochistan, the agencies have turned their attention to Sindhi nationalists. Little do they know that such actions only enflame more and more people. It is obvious that the so-called protectors of Pakistan are actually destroying Pakistan. First, their disrespect and non-acceptance of the wishes of people of East Pakistan led to the birth of Bangladesh, which now enjoys greater GDP and higher literacy rate. Then, the same forces attacked Baloch and causing world community to become sympathetic to the Baloch demand of independence. Now, they are using the same heavy-handed policies in Sindh. This coupled with the failure of PPP to bring justice and fairness to Sindh’s common men and women will surely convince more and more Sindhis that they will not receive justice in the present set-up.
About Author: Mr. Khalid Hashmani is a Washington DC-based veteran human rights activist. He is the founding President of Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) and a Coordinator of Sindhi Excellence Team (SET) that participates in advocacy activities on behalf of rural Sindhis. (KHashmani@hotmail.com )