Tag Archives: HRCP

HRCP report 2015: Still a long way to go

Saturday,2 March 2016

ISLAMABAD: The cases of violence related deaths have decreased up to 40 percent across the country with 4,612 deaths this year as compared to 7,622 last year.

This was revealed in a report `State of Human Rights in 2015′ launched here Friday by Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).

The report stated that anti- state violence dropped below 2008 levels: 706 militant attacks took place,in which 1,325 people including 619 civilians, 348 security forces personnel, 325 militants and 33 pro-government razakars were killed.

HRCP noted that killing of 2,108 men and seven women through police encounters across the country while there were 18 suicide attacks in Pakistan, which 31% less in comparison to last year.

Read more » Online Indus
See more » http://www.onlineindus.com/hrcp-report-2015-still-a-long-way-to-go/

Year-to-date: 83 mutilated corpses found in Balochistan

QUETTA: The Vice Chairman of Human Rights Commission Balochistan chapter Advocate Tahir Hussain said that as many as 83 mutilated bodies were recovered this year in Balochistan.

He said this while addressing a news conference on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on Friday here at Quetta Press Club.

He said that as many as 230 cases of disappeared persons are registered with the Supreme Court. He added that people have little knowledge about their rights and called for raising awareness among the public about their basic privileges. He said five years ago, in extension of the UN Treaty on Support of Victims of Torture, Pakistan pledged an effective statute in torture. He said torture should be declared as a crime.

Read: Four bullet-riddled bodies found near Karachi’s Lyari Expressway

He said that on the International Day of Support of Victims of Torture, MCT and Pakistan Human Rights Commission should demand of the government to make laws against torture and compensate the victims of torture in Pakistan.

He said that the day reminds everyone that inhuman behaviour, such as torture, still exist in Pakistan, mocking human dignity. He said that after having signed the Treaty five years ago, it is high time Pakistan legislated on the issue. He added that HRCP and MCP have in an open letter to NA welcomed a draft bill that is still pending in the lower house of parliament. “Pakistan Human Rights Commission should demand of the government to make laws against torture and compensate the victims of torture.” said Hussain. Both organisations have also suggested good amendments against torture and killing into the draft bill.

In response to a question, he said that earlier the family members of missing persons would inform them about their dead bodies began to surface, they stopped telling HRCP anything about them now.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune, June 27th, 2015.
Read more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/910713/year-to-date-83-mutilated-corpses-found-in-balochistan/

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP’s) alarm at missing men in Sindh turning up dead

By HRCP

Lahore, December 5: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed grave alarm at the rapid rise in enforced disappearances in Sindh, with the victims turning up dead. Those taken away are young men, mainly political activists, picked up from various parts of the province in the last few months. Mutilated dead bodies of many of the victims have been found. HRCP demanded immediate steps to put an end to the ghastly trend and to bring the killers to justice.

In a statement issued on Friday, the Commission said: “HRCP has noted with great alarm increasing reports of enforced disappearance of citizens, mainly activists of nationalist political parties, in Sindh and their tortured bodies being found weeks or months later.

The victims include Shakeel Sindhi, a Sindh University student, was abducted from his house in Karachi on October 6 and his dead body was found on October 11. Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz (JSMM) activist Paryal Shah was abducted from a public transport bus headed from Dahrki to Kashmor on November 7. His dead body was found the same day from a village on the Sindh-Punjab border. The bullet-riddled body of Roshan Brohi, a resident of Larkana and a JSMM activist, was found in a gunny bag near Malir, Karachi, on November 12. He had been picked up on October 26. The dead body of SindhUniversity student and JSMM activist Asif Panhwar was found in a village of Larkana district on November 26. He had been shot several times. He had been picked up by security agencies from Jamshoro on August 15. On November 27, the bullet-riddled body of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) activist Waheed Lashari was found in a sewerage pond in Karachi’s Malir area. He had been abducted 29 days earlier from Qambar Shahdadkot, when he was travelling with his sister in a public transport van. Allah Wadio, a first year student, was abducted on August 13 from Karachi. On December 02 unidentified persons threw him in a critical condition near Hub Chowki. Police informed his parents who admitted him to Civil Hospital Karachi. He was reportedly picked up from there by security agencies’ personnel and on December 3 his dead body was found from Hyderabad Bypass.

Continue reading Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP’s) alarm at missing men in Sindh turning up dead

Pakistan: Rights advocate Rashid Rehman Khan gunned down in Multan

By AFP & Dawn.com

MULTAN: Human Rights Advocate Rashid Rehman Khan was gunned down by unidentified attackers in Multan, DawnNews reported late on Wednesday night.

Initial reports suggest that Khan was targeted by two gunmen inside his office at Kachehri Chowk.

Sources told Dawn.com that two clean-shaven young men barged into Advocate Khan’s office and shot him dead. They also injured his two lawyer friends, identified as Nadeem Parwaz and Afzal.

Injured were taken to Nishtar Medical Center where Parwaz is said to be in a critical condition.

“Armed gunmen stormed the chamber of Rashid Rehman and started indiscriminate firing on Wednesday evening, injuring Rehman and two of his associates present there,” senior police official Zulfiqar Ali told AFP.

Advocate Rashid Rehman Khan was a coordinator for the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP). The senior lawyer was defending a university lecturer accused of blasphemy and had complained that he had been receiving threats on his life.

The HRCP had voiced serious concern over the threats extended to Khan.

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1104788/rights-advocate-rashid-rehman-khan-gunned-down-in-multan

Rape cases: Sindh Assembly calls for mandatory DNA tests

By: Daily Dawn Report

KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly has unanimously passed a resolution which calls for making DNA tests mandatory in rape cases. The resolution was tabled by PPP MPA Sharmila Farooqi.

As per the resolution, DNA tests should be mandatory in all rape cases, the costs of which should be supported by the Sindh government.

The resolution comes in the wake of controversial recomendation by the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) last month which had attracted a great deal of criticism from women rights organisations.

The CII had recommended that DNA should not be included as a primary evidence with regard to rape cases.

They held the view that Islam has set procedures to determine cases of rape and said Islamic procedure should be adopted during investigation.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) had called the CII declaration “regressive, unfortunate and unkind to rape victims.”

The HRCP also called on the new government for an urgent reconstitution of the CII.

A number a civil society groups have called for the CII to be abolished in the ‘larger interest of a progressive and tolerant society’.

Courtesy: DAWN
http://beta.dawn.com/news/1017553/rape-cases-sindh-assembly-calls-for-mandatory-dna-tests

Pakistan supporting, financing religious extremism in Sindh: Lakhu Luhano

London, April 5 (ANI): Secretary General of World Sindhi Congress Lakhu Luhana has blamed Pakistan for supporting and financing religious extremism in Sindh, which has been in the news for targeted killings and sectarian violence.

Describing Pakistan as a country based on religious philosophy, Luhana said: “In recent years, they have been funding lot of madrasas and spending billions. They want to counter the nationalist philosophy, which inheritably is a secular philosophy. To counter that, they have to bring in another philosophy, which is religious philosophy. So, they have been patronizing, sponsoring, supporting and financing religious extremism in Sindh.”

With people from other provinces of Pakistan making a beeline for Sindh, the crime graph in the province is on the rise.

As per the Human Rights Commission Pakistan (HRCP), the year 2012 recorded 104 cases of sectarian killings, a 352 per cent rise from the year 2011.

In an interview given to ANI, Luhana said: “These forces want to control Karachi by replacing indigenous people. So, they used all the contradictions, including religious extremism, to fulfill their aims”.

He added: “It is a very dangerous situation, but Sindhi people have never participated in that and have always condemned that. And (Mahatma) Gandhi once said that in the whole (Indian) subcontinent, probably Sindhis are the most secular people. But the speed with which the Pakistani state has been working to support religious extremism, that is really a frightening situation.”

Luhana believes that the rising violence in Sindh, especially Karachi, is happening with the consent of the Pakistani military, the Rangers and the intelligence agencies.

Continue reading Pakistan supporting, financing religious extremism in Sindh: Lakhu Luhano

We will miss Iqbal Haidar. A brave urdu speaking Sindhi who never hesitated in raising voice against terrorism, fanaticism & urban fascism

Former PPP Law Minister Iqbal Haider passes away

By: INP

Former Law Minister, and co-chairman of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Iqbal Haider passed away on Sunday in a local hospital here in Karachi. He was suffering from lungs ailment.

His funeral prayer will be offered after Zuhar prayer on Monday at Imambargah Yasrub in phase IV Defence Housing Society, Karachi.

Continue reading We will miss Iqbal Haidar. A brave urdu speaking Sindhi who never hesitated in raising voice against terrorism, fanaticism & urban fascism

HRCP terms Gilani’s removal as depressing

LAHORE: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has called the disqualification of Yousaf Raza Gilani a sad occasion in a country where democratic traditions have perpetually been denied the nourishment they need to take roots.

Continue reading HRCP terms Gilani’s removal as depressing

At least 740 killed in Karachi in five months: HRCP

KARACHI: Ethnic, sectarian and politically-linked violence in Pakistan’s financial capital Karachi has killed at least 740 people so far this year, a human rights organisation said Tuesday.

Parts of the port city have become battlegrounds, with authorities unable to prevent violence blamed on activists from political parties representing rival ethnic groups.

“About 740 people have been the victims of violent shootings in the last five months,” Zohra Yusuf, chair of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), told AFP.

The HRCP said last year a total of 1,715 people were killed in violent flare-ups in the city, which is Pakistan’s biggest with an estimated population of 17 million.

Continue reading At least 740 killed in Karachi in five months: HRCP

Balochistan: A history of betrayals and disillusionment

By Mahvish Ahmad

ISLAMABAD, April 30: Zakir Majid Baloch was picked up from Mastung three years ago. He was on his way to a university where he was enrolled as an MA English student. Zakir had always wanted to go to Balochistan University in Quetta but it was impossible for him to get admission there. According to his sister Farzana Majid, his political activities in the Baloch Student Organization-Azad made him an unpopular pick for most academic institutions. It was most likely also the reason for his kidnapping: Farzana believes that the security agencies picked him up on June 8, 2009, to punish him for his activities.

Continue reading Balochistan: A history of betrayals and disillusionment

Lyari is burning

Karachi is burning

With hundreds already killed in ethnic, political and sectarian conflicts this year, the dynamics of violence in Karachi are becoming more complex

By Ali K Chishti

Of the 1,138 people killed in Karachi during the first half of 2011, 150 were political workers, according to the HRCP. This year, Sindh Home Ministry and Karachi Police report that 405 political workers have been targeted already. “More than 10,000 people have been killed in political and ethnic violence in the city since 2007,” says Aftab Rauf Khan, a senior security official. “What is worse is that there have been no prosecutions.”

Political and ethnic violence in Karachi has increased significantly since 2008. There were just over 200 target killings in the city in 2006, 318 in 2007, and 786 in 2008. At least 1,183 people died in political and ethnic violence in the city in 2009, more than 1,300 in 2010, and over 1,700 in 2011. ….

Read more » The Friday Times

Sindh’s Stolen Brides

On the other side of the Thar, Hindus, especially girls, are forced into Islam

By Mariana Baabar

Hindus In Pakistan

Hindus constitute about 2.5 per cent, or 26 lakh, of Pakistan’s population.

Though sprinkled all over Pakistan, 95 per cent of Hindus are in Sindh.

Only Tharparkar district in Sindh has Hindus in majority: 51 per cent.

Other districts with sizeable population: Mirpur Khas (41 per cent), Sanghar (35 per cent), Umerkot (43 per cent)

Nearly 82 per cent of Pakistani Hindus are lower caste, most of them farm labourers

Cities with some Hindu population: Karachi, Hyderabad, Jacobabad, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta.

In Tharparkar, Hindus own land. Krishen Bheel, Gyan Chand and Ramesh Lal are the Hindus in the Pakistan National Assembly.

***

Let me confess at the outset: I’m travelling in rural Sindh to verify specifically the reported widespread menace of abduction of Hindu girls, their forcible conversion to Islam and betrothal to Muslim men. My first port of call is the district court of Mirpur Khas. I promptly mingle among the crowd waiting for the court’s decision on a kidnap-and-conversion case. Different voices narrate contradictory stories. I am befuddled for the moment.

Soon, a frisson of excitement sweeps through the throng, as a police van drives through the gate. Inside it is Mariam. She’s 13 years old—and married! Mariam was Mashu, and Hindu, till the night of December 22, 2005. I pick my way through the jostling crowd. Mariam is in a red burqa, her gold nose ring sparkles. She tells me, “I’m happy. I don’t want to return to my parents or brother.” What’s the fuss about, I wonder.

It’s quite another story under the pipal tree of the court compound. Huddled under it are the villagers of Jhaluree, 20 km from Mirpur Khas. Among them is Mashu’s father, Malo Sanafravo. He says that at 11 pm, December 22, four armed men barged into their room. One of them was Malo’s neighbour, Akbar. They picked up Mashu, bundled her into the waiting car. “She was taken to Pir Ayub Jan Sarhandi’s village in Saamaaro tehsil.” There Mashu became Mariam and was married to Akbar.

Not true, insists husband Akbar. “Mariam has been always in my heart,” he gushes, saying, at 11 pm, December 22, it was she who had come over to his house. But it’s true that the Pir converted her and married them—it was his idea that they issue statements in the court. “Mariam was sent to Darul Aman in Hyderabad, in judicial custody,” Akbar declares.

A 13-year-old choosing to convert and marry? A 13-year-old testifying in the court, without her family by her side? Suspicious, I walk over to the SHO, caught in the middle of a heated exchange between two groups. Someone suggests he should allow the girl to meet her relatives. Before the conversion yes, not now. She has now become Muslim, says the SHO. He argues, “There’s a huge crowd here. If Mariam breaks down after seeing her father, there will be a communal riot here in the compound.”

A little later, there are celebrations as the word spreads: the court has allowed the couple to live together. Standing next to me is Kanjee Rano Bheel. He works for an NGO in the education sector; volunteers for the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) as well. “In just two hours Mashu was converted and married,” Kanjee says incredulously.

Disappointment and helpless rage fleet across his face. “In Darul Aman the girls are kept away from parents and pressured into issuing statements favourable to the abductors. They tame stubborn girls through death threats.”

So, was Mashu abducted and forcibly converted?

In Mirpur Khas, truth resembles the mirage of the surrounding Thar desert, teasing and tormenting me as I drive from Karachi into interior Sindh. It tests your credulity, it challenges your journalistic skills. Wherever I go, and whoever I meet, in disconsolate voices the Hindus talk about ‘missing girls’; their stories resemble Mashu’s—the theme of abduction, conversion, often followed by marriage, is common to most narrations. The girls then appear in courts to issue statements declaring their conversion was voluntary. All links to the natal family and the community are severed; they are lost to the family forever. On January 4, 2005, Marvi, 18, and Hemi, 16, were kidnapped from Kunri village in Umerkot district; three months later, on March 3, 14-year-old Raji was abducted from Aslam Town Jhuddo, Mirpur Khas. The script in their cases was similar to Mashu’s. “Only 10 per cent of all conversions involving girls are voluntary; because of romance,” says Kanjee.

Ten per cent of what? No official figures are available. The DIG in Mirpur Khas, Saleemullah, says, “If there’s need I’ll collect these figures.

Saleemullah, perhaps, should tap the HRCP for statistics. Its director in Lahore, I.A. Rehman, is an honourable man. Rehman told Outlook that the HRCP has, between Jan 2000 to Dec 2005, documented 50 cases involving conversion of Hindu girls to Islam. Its investigations too endorse what I had found in interior Sindh. In many cases where it was claimed the girls had eloped with their Muslim partners, the HRCP found that most were, in fact, abducted, forcibly married to Muslim men or sold to them. There have been cases of Hindu girls, usually from economically better off families, eloping with their Muslim boyfriends. Rehman says in most cases such marriages didn’t last long. With links to their families cut off, the girls were subsequently forced to marry another Muslim or sucked into marriage rackets.

Nuzzhat Shirin, who works for the Lahore-based ngp Aurat Foundation, understands why the girls don’t reveal their plight at the time they are presented in court. “When a Hindu is forced to become Muslim, such a ruckus is made that if the young kidnapped girl appears in court, the fanatics yell, scream, throw rose petals in the air and follow the youth into the building so that she’s intimidated and can’t speak,” Shirin explains.

Social stigma arising from the loss of virginity, and the consequent difficulty of finding a groom, prompt these women to accept their misfortune—and hope for the best.

Fifty incidents in five years represents just a percentage of the total number of cases, says Kanjee, pointing out that a majority of such crimes go unreported. “There have been 50 such incidents last year,” insists Krishen Bheel, who is a Hindu member of the National Assembly (MNA), the Pakistani equivalent of the Lok Sabha. He begins to rattle out the cases he remembers: two months back Sapna was kidnapped and converted in upper Sindh; seven months earlier it was 17-year-old Lakshmi in Nawkot, and then…. “The trend is increasing,” he says. “If these conversions are voluntary, then how come boys rarely ever convert?”

Only once did the popular resentment against abduction spill out in the streets of Mirpur Khas. It was in the ’80s: a girl named Sita had been kidnapped. Some 70,000 Hindus turned up to protest the kidnapping. The police opened fire, killing several. “Sita was never returned,” Krishen laments. “She had even told Justice Dhorab Patel, who later joined the HRCP, that she had been forcibly converted. We have now stopped agitating.”

Instead, the Hindus take the support of civil rights groups and the media to publicise abduction cases, hoping public scrutiny would goad the state into action.

On Dec 30, the day after the Mariam case was disposed, the Supreme Court took cognisance of the complaint Qosheela’s parents from Ghotki, Sindh, had filed. They claimed their 13-year-old girl had been kidnapped, converted, given the name of Hajra and married to a Muslim man. The girl, as in most other cases, had said she had converted of her own free will. A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, ordered the medical examination of the girl to determine whether she had attained puberty (Islam permits marriage at that age). Should it be proved otherwise, the husband could be tried for rape.

Even cities are not immune to the menace. Last year, Sammo Amra and Champa in Karachi received a letter from their three missing daughters—Reena (21), Reema (17) and Usha (19)—informing that they had converted to Islam and were ordained under the dictates of their new religion not to live with infidels, including their Hindu parents. The letter bore the address of Madrassa Taleemul Islam, Karachi. It prompted Supreme Court Bar Association president Malik Mohammad Qayyum to petition the Supreme Court in the first week of December. He accused the religious seminary’s administrator of using coercive methods to convert the three girls. On December 16, the court ordered the police to shift the girls to the Edhi Welfare Centre and provide protection to them until the time it was ascertained they had been indeed compelled to convert to Islam.

Sensitive Muslim citizens feel the way to counter the menace is to reinterpret and widen the scope of law.

Major (retd) Kamran Shafi, an absentee landlord from Sindh, cites the case of 17-year-old Kochlia, who was kidnapped and gangraped in Jacobabad, Sindh, in Sept 2005. Four men were arrested for the crime. They were subsequently released because Kochlia stated in the court she had converted and was married to one of them. Shafi asks, “Isn’t something very, very wrong here? Suppose the poor girl was forced into changing her religion and marrying one of the assailants so that they get off the hook? Can’t the state prosecute the four on its own, for their original crime of rape?”

The three Hindu MNAs—Krishen Bheel, Gyan Chand and Ramesh Lal—raised the Kochlia case in the National Assembly. They claimed Kochlia’s statement was not tenable as under the local Hindu custom and law a girl can’t marry of her own will until the age of 20. Since Kochlia is a minor, her abductors should be tried for rape. Such an interpretation of existing laws could provide ample relief to Hindus.

Till then, though, the fear of kidnap stalks the Hindus of Pakistan. Krishen Bheel says Hindu girls are scared to go out; he has enrolled his own children into a Christian school. He points to Mirpur Khas’ strange predicament: there’s freedom to worship, there are 10 temples which bustle through the day with devotees; and yet Hindu girls here are kidnapped and converted—and the community humiliated.

Perhaps these abductions are part of the general scenario of crime against women in rural Pakistan (see box). Perhaps they are converted and married to criminals to enable the latter to escape the dragnet of the law. Yet, such arguments don’t comfort the Hindus. Sat Ram, of Shadi Bali village near Mirpur Khas, says Hindu girls are deprived of education because their parents are apprehensive of sending them to schools located at a distance. “They receive education only till the primary level. It isn’t safe to send them to school after that.”

But the plight of Hindu women can’t be seen just through the prism of gender discrimination rampant in rural Sindh. Reena Gul, of Sattar Nagar village, Mirpur Khas, says the boys too are converted but their numbers are very few. The community here feels it is the Islamist’s agenda to drive out non-Muslims from Pakistan. In fact, Krishen told the National Assembly that even Hindu businessmen are being kidnapped in Sindh for ransom. He said on the floor of the House, “Several religious parties are reportedly behind the move to convince the people that it is their responsibility to get rid of infidels from Pakistan, (that) taking ransom from non-Muslims is not a sin.”

I now set out to meet Pir Ayub Jan Sarhandi, whose name surfaces repeatedly in conversion stories. The drive from Mirpur Khas to Sarhandi village, Somarho tehsil, is through a picturesque landscape. Peacocks dance in the field and gypsies pitch their tents for the night. Even the Pir appears tranquil, his white flowing beard and winsome disposition camouflaging his mission.

Yet, when he begins to talk, he conceals nothing. Yes, the Pir declares, he has been converting the Hindus for the last 30 years. Perhaps his claims of converting a 1,000 families a year is a boast. “There’s a surah in the Quran which speaks specifically about conversion, especially about conversion of women,” he says to justify his mission. “Recently, three Hindu girls were brought to me. I named them Benazir, Sanam and Nusrat,” he reveals, with the righteous air of someone who had bestowed a favour. “These Hindu women are mistreated by their husbands who do nothing but watch TV.”

The Pir rubbishes the allegation that he converts abducted Hindu girls. The unwilling are sent back. Yet, he adds in the same breath, “In many cases Hindu girls are kidnapped and kept as keeps. But these keeps are not converted. But believe me, they are very happy.”

I express the desire to meet the women whom he had converted and found sanctuary with him. The Pir agrees, even allows us to photograph them, contrary to the local tradition. Into the room, the women walk. Rehana, 50, was earlier Nabee; she converted three years ago, after the death of her husband. “I had no one to turn to. If we do not convert we would not be helped by this family.” It was the same reason for 35-year-old Mariam, who came here seven years back. “Under the Pir’s protection, I earn at least Rs 200 a month.” Ruksana was earlier Chotee, and hails from Umerkot. Extreme poverty and a drug-addict husband persuaded her to take the extreme step. “I brought my four kids as well,” she declares.

As I talk to these women, I realise most of them are widows or wallowing in poverty. I mention this to the Pir. He says, “The government is responsible for all Hindus and non-Hindus. When the government doesn’t help them, they come to us.”

Forced or economically enticed, the Hindu converts do not symbolise Islam’s appeal. Rather they represent the state’s failure to provide succour to the poor and protect their religious rights. Perhaps it’s also symptomatic of the sickness afflicting the Pakistani state. As they say, the condition of the minorities is an indicator of a nation’s health.

Courtesy: OutLook

http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?229886#.T3IYtTDwlfl.twitter

Via – Twitter

Pak Must Stop Atrocities in Balochistan: Asma Jehangir

New Delhi: Prominent Pakistani human rights activist Asma Jehangir wants Pakistan to put its act together for a time-bound mechanism to address the unrest in Baluchistan while appealing for ending “hair-raising” atrocities in the troubled province.

Jehangir , who is in India as part of a delegation of Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan (SCBAP) attending a seminar organised by Supreme Court Bar Association, said her country was going through a “very difficult” phase which was not comprehended here properly.

“I think that the government (of Pakistan) has to put its act together. First of all, the atrocities which are very tragic, which are hair-raising have to stop,” Jehangir told PTI on the sidelines of a dinner hosted in her honour by South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA) and South Asian Women in Media (SAWM) here.

Read more » http://news.in.msn.com/pakistan/article.aspx?cp-documentid=5939005

Concern about new bid to censor the Internet: HRCP, FIDH

By Zohra Yusuf, HRCP chairperson

Lahore, March 13: On the occasion of the international day of action against Internet censorship, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its member organisation, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), have expressed deep concern over an attempt by the Ministry of Information Technology in Pakistan to further restrict freedom of expression, creativity and peaceful thought on the Internet, by projecting an extensive filtering system that will, if implemented, allow authorities to block up to 50 million “undesirable” URLs at the national level.

The National ICT R&D Fund of the Ministry of Information Technology released in February a call inviting academia/research institutions, companies, organizations to submit, by 16 March 2012, a proposal for the set-up of a filtering system. The call claims that Internet access in Pakistan is mostly unrestricted and unfiltered, so that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and backbone providers in the country need a high-performance system to block millions of URLs containing “undesirable” content as notified by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

Censorship is already very tight in Pakistan; 13,000 websites considered guilty of publishing adult and blasphemous content have already been blocked. On 14 November 2011, authorities requested mobile operators to censor the content of SMS and ban 1,600 words and expressions. Over the last summer, operators received the order to submit lists of Internet users trying to escape censorship, which corresponds to a system of surveillance”, said Zohra Yusuf, HRCP chairperson.

Continue reading Concern about new bid to censor the Internet: HRCP, FIDH

Kidnapping Of Hindu Girls On The Rise In Pakistan

KARACHI – Lata Kumar, a medical student on her way to college, was kidnapped earlier this week by unidentified persons from a busy Karachi street in the upmarket Defence Housing Area. In February in a similar incident, Rinkle Kumari was abducted in Mirpur Mathelo, a small town in rural Sindh. Both women, Hindus by faith, are feared to have been converted to Islam and married off.

The rise in the number of reports of Hindu girls being kidnapped or made to convert to Islam has sparked concern from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).

At the launch of its report on minorities in Pakistan titled ‘Perils of Faith’ earlier this month,the HRCP’s Amarnath Motumal said minor girls and married women are kidnapped and then converted to Islam.

“They kidnap girls who are younger than 15 but they say they are adults and that the girls have accepted Islam and been married of their own free will,” he said. He also pointed out that no one is supporting the Hindu community on the issue. “We are Pakistanis first, and then Hindu. We earn enough and have food to eat but this conversion issue is not acceptable, it has discouraged Hindus in Pakistan.”

HRCP chief Zohra Yusuf noted that the “situation of religious minorities in Pakistan has grown worse over the last year. The government has not taken steps which could improve the status of minorities.”

“Minorities are not considered equal citizens in Pakistan. Some incidents that happened in 2011 have increased their vulnerability”, she said, citing the assassinations of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer and former federal minister for minorities affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti.

In front of the Karachi Press Club on Sunday, members of the minority communities, including Hindus, Christians and Sikhs protested. “Give us our Rinkle back. Give us the daughter of Sindh back,” demanded the relatives of the 17-year-old girl.

Courtesy: http://thelinkpaper.ca/?p=14962

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan requests your urgent intervention in the situation – Abduction of Two Sindhi Nationalist Leaders

URGENT APPEAL HRCP – Abduction of Two Sindhi Nationalist Leaders

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

Description of the situation: On Monday night March 5, 2012 Dr. Mir Alam Marree, Senior Vice-Chairman Jeay Sindh Qomi Mahaz (JSQM) and Mr. Umer Teewano alias Raja Dahar were sitting at a restaurant opposite Rajputana Hospital,Gulshan-e-Sajad, in the jurisdiction Bhittai Nagar, Police Station, Hyderabad, Sindh Pakistan.

According to the eye witnesses they were picked up by plain cloth men belonging to law enforcing agencies who came in four vehicles including a police mobile. Before taking them away they were hit by the rifles butts.

Ms. Ghazal Maree D/O Mir Alam Maree told HRCP that on Monday at 7.30 pm her father talked with her but after twenty minutes when she called back her fathers’ cell phone was switched off. There was no FIR against her father.

Action requested – Please write to the authorities in Pakistan urging them:

1. To disclose the whereabouts of two Sindhi nationalist leaders and reason for their arrest.

2. To release the detainees immediately if they are not to be charged with a cognizable criminal offense.

3. To allow the families of the detainee to meet them.

4. They should be provided lawyers access.

5. To protect them from torture and other ill-treatment while they are in detention.

We express our deep concern on the abduction of Dr. Mir Alam Muree, Senior Vice-Chairman Jeay Sindh Qomi Mahaz(JSQM) and Mr. Umer Teewano alias Raja Dahar by law enforcement agencies.

We demand that they must not be tortured.

We urge that they are dealt with according to law.

We urge that if there was no case against them they should be immediately released.

We urge to provide them all kind of medical facilities.

We demand that their families should be allowed to meet them

We demand that they should be allowed to meet lawyers of their choice.

-/-/-/-/-/-

More details » Daily Times

An appeal to International Community – “We want to attend universities, not funerals” – Young Women of Balochistan

Below please see a letter from Young Women of Balochistan, forwarded by a friend who received it via email on Dec 10, 2011, Human Rights Day – a day commemorated around the country and dedicated to the people of Balochistan by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (See this report by Rabia Ali). Ironically and tragically, that very day, a young Baloch human rights activist, 35-year old Faisal Mengal, was gunned down in Karachi (details in this report). As Rabia Ali reports, from July 2010 to November 2011, around 300 dead bodies were found — some even of 14-year-olds, according to Tahir Hussain, Vice Chairperson of the HRCP’s Balochistan chapter. Those killed include two HRCP activists, while the number of people missing range from 5,000 to 6,000.  Read on for this brief appeal by the Young Women of Balochistan…

We are young women from Balochistan, belonging to Quetta, Pishin, Mastung, Khuzdaar, Lasbella, Sibi, and Qila Saifullah.

On International Human Rights day, we want to send forward our message.

Each of us has horror stories; each of us has lived through nightmares. We want to tell you our fears.

We want to tell you that we no longer sleep at night. Because we fear the midnight knock. We don’t sleep in the day either, because when men we love go out, we don’t know if they will ever come back or not.

We want to tell you that when our loved ones ‘disappear’, we don’t know what to pray for – whether we should pray for them to come back broken, tortured and maimed, or whether to pray for their quick and painless death. We know unharmed return is not a possibility.

We fear that our daily battles for dignity within our homes and communities will be lost; that our fight for equality and progress will vanish in our fight for survival as an ethnic group.

We fear our own blindness.

We fear the Frontier Constabulary, the army, the state, and the ‘unknown assailants’ that all FIRs record. We have now started to fear ourselves. We fear that years later, when others tell us ‘We didn’t know what was happening in Balochistan’, we will not be able to accept that.

We fear we will lose our capacity to forgive.

We need you to help us fight our fears.

We ask you to help us fight for our future. A future in which the FC and the army does not rule over our lives and deaths.

We want to attend universities, not funerals.

From: Young Women of Balochistan

Courtesy » Journeys To Democracy

http://beenasarwar.wordpress.com/2011/12/12/we-want-to-attend-universities-not-funerals-young-women-of-balochistan/

Human Rights commission of Pakistan (HRCP): Proposed Local Government System in Sindh – Combining elements of 1979 & 2001 Ordinances/ Acts

Background

Democratic governance is among one of the major concerns of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. HRCP believes that an important aspect of democracy is governance at the local level. In Sindh, the issue of local government has caused deep divisions among the stakeholders, particularly in Karachi, Sindh,  and led to the hardening of positions. This issue also demands urgency of settlement as the current arrangement, put in place through an Ordinance, will end on November 11, 2011. HRCP’s recent fact-finding into the causes of violence in Karachi indicated that the primary reason is a war of turf over who controls the city.

Continue reading Human Rights commission of Pakistan (HRCP): Proposed Local Government System in Sindh – Combining elements of 1979 & 2001 Ordinances/ Acts

Death threat Alert: Ethnic political group releases journalist “hit list”

Alert – Ethnic political group allied with ruling party releases journalist “hit list”

(PPF/IFEX) – The Mohajir Rabita Council (MRC), an ethnic political group in Pakistan’s southern province of Sindh, has issued a list of twelve Pakistani journalists it denounced as being “chauvinists”, and criticized their alleged role in the violence during protest rallies held in Karachi on 12 May 2007, during the visit of the suspended Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftekhar Mohammed Chaudhary to the city.

The MRC is considered to be closely associated with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), the party allied to President Pervez Musharraf and the main coalition partner in the Sindh provincial government.

In a press statement, the vice-president and secretary general of MRC said the organization had established a special unit to inform the new generation about their “enemies”. The statement also condemned certain television programmes and accused them of “playing a dangerous game to destroy Pakistan by igniting linguistic prejudices.”

The names of the journalists on the list include: Zafar Abbas of the daily newspaper “Dawn”; Azhar Abbas of Dawn TV; Mazhar Abbas of AFP; Ayaz Amir, a “Dawn” columnist; Sajjad Mir of TV One; Irfan Siddiqui of daily “Nawa-e-Waqt”; Dr. Shahid Masood of Geo TV; Aneeq Ahmed of ARY TV; Asfar Imam of Aaj TV; Zahid Hussain of Geo TV; Shaheen Sehbai of ARY TV; and Zarar Khan of AP. Also included in the list was Iqbal Haider, secretary general of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).

A press release issued by the Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ) expressed concern at the MRC statement, which it described as a serious threat to free media and an attempt to gag the press. ….

Read more → IFEX

http://www.ifex.org/pakistan/2007/05/24/ethnic_political_group_allied_with/

Baluchistan is a colony as East Pakistan was!

– Callous indifference – by Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

The states in general are obsessed with their sham ideologies or at times enticed by multi-nationals and lending bodies forget that the people are of primary importance. This obsession is so strong that even parties ideologically committed to peoples’ rights and welfare become anti-people

The Pakistani state’s ‘abduct and dump’ policy in Balochistan continues as viciously as ever and the recent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) report was a lot of water off duck’s back. Those who put no premium on human lives exhibit callous indifference and care not a whit for reports. This newspaper reported on the July 5 that bodies Zubair Baloch and Hafeez Baloch abducted a few months back were recovered and one Khalid Haji Hatim abducted by security personnel. On the July 7, it reported that bodies found from Turbat, Khuzdar and Gwadar included that of Hanif Baloch, a former president of BSO-Azad (Pasni zone), kidnapped from Hub two days before, and Azam, Rahim and Qadir Baloch. …

Read more → Daily Times

The judge, jury and the hangman – Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

As long as the politicians cherish their perks more than the rights of the people, the ascendancy of the army is assured. Little wonder then that the armed forces in Balochistan have always acted like the judge, jury and the hangman with impunity

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) in its recent report appropriately titled ‘Balochistan: blinkered slide into chaos’ has highlighted the repulsive role of the armed forces in the issue of the missing and killed persons in Balochistan. It also is scathing on the abdication of authority by the politicians to the armed forces who now decide about every aspect in Balochistan. It would have been to the everlasting credit of the HRCP if they had bluntly stated the fact that Balochistan was literally under martial law but sadly they refrained.

The countries and people that sweep their perpetrated atrocities under the carpet, hoping that by denials maybe these will be forgotten and consequences thwarted, underestimate the consequences of denial; those who refuse to accept mistakes make a habit of them. They also fallaciously start believing that their judge, jury and hangman role is justified and something to be proud of.

The fact that the atrocities and war crimes committed in Bangladesh in 1971 by the army and the state went unpunished has consequently resulted in atrocities in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. A listless civil society and generally supine media has been unable to challenge or expose these atrocities. Urban extra-judicial killings too have gone unchallenged and unpunished.

The spate of blatantly state-sponsored brutal extra-judicial killings and missing persons in Balochistan, Swat, etc, would not have happened if the perpetrators of the Bangladesh atrocities had been punished. Perhaps even Bangladesh would not have happened if the 1948 Kalat assault and subsequent operations in Balochistan had been challenged and the perpetrators docked for their deeds. ….

Read more → Daily Times

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed alarm at torture against students of Punjab University’s Philosophy Department by Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT)

HRCP slams violence by hooligans at PU

Press release- Lahore, June 27: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed alarm at torture against students of Punjab University’s Philosophy Department by armed activists allegedly belonging to Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) early on Sunday, which left seven students injured.

Continue reading The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed alarm at torture against students of Punjab University’s Philosophy Department by Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT)

Killings of teachers, activists unacceptable: HRCP

By HRCP

Lahore, June 3: The target killing of teachers and political activists in Balochistan is outrageous and utterly unacceptable, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said on Friday, calling upon the government to make a greater effort to stop the killings than it had so far.

A statement issued by HRCP said: “In circumstances that are both tragic and familiar, unidentified armed motorcyclists have killed another teacher, Saba Dashtiari, in Quetta, and another political activist, Nasim Jangiyan, in Turbat. The police have promptly classified Dashtiari’s assassination as target killing and stated that Jangiyan could also have been a victim of target killing. This is not the first time that teachers and political activists have been killed in this manner in Balochitsan and, unless extraordinary measures are taken, it would not be the last. The people may be excused for thinking that the security agencies’ job is merely categorising murders. Why is it that after so many murders the state is no closer to nabbing the culprits? It is utterly unacceptable that despite heavy deployment of security personnel the killers of the people enjoy impunity and strike at will. If there was a strategy in place to stop these killings then that clearly has not worked and must be reviewed. HRCP demands every possible measure must be taken to prevent this bloodletting. Also every single incident of unlawful killing and violence targeting teachers and political activists in Balochistan must be investigated with the priority and importance that the government is required to attach to human life. The situation also demands serious measures to address the glut of weapons across the country, particularly in Balochistan.”

Zohra Yusuf

Chairperson

2010 Human Rights Report: Pakistan

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 2010 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

Pakistan is a federal republic with a population of approximately 176 million. In 2008 democratic rule was restored in the country through elections that international observers deemed competitive and reflective of the people’s will. Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of assassinated Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Benazir Bhutto, became president and head of state on September 6, 2008. Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani was the prime minister and head of government. The PPP and its federal coalition partners controlled the executive and legislative branches of the national government and three of the four provincial assemblies. Security forces did not report to civilian authorities and operated independently from the civilian government.

The major human rights problems included extrajudicial killings, disappearances, and torture. ….

Read more : U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/sca/154485.htm

Failing the Baloch

By Basil Nabi Malik

THE mutilated bodies surface quietly in various parts of the province, and usually without any forewarning. The killings take place sporadically but surely, the bodies dumped on unforgiving mountains or on deserted, half-constructed roads. Perhaps they are meant to constitute a message for certain segments of society.

On some occasions, the arms and legs of these corpses are found to have been snapped; often, their faces are smashed in and swollen. At other times, the flesh shows that severe torture was inflicted on various parts of the body, the wounds indicating the use of knives, electric prods or drills that tore gaping holes into the body. The remains are often unrecognisable. And all of them have a gunshot wound in the head.

These aren’t scenes from a battlefield in Afghanistan, Iraq or even the former Yugoslavia. Instead, this is the situation in the largest province in Pakistan: Balochistan. According to assessments made by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), severe human rights violations have been taking place in Balochistan since the onset of the latest phase of the insurgency.

Of the many incidents of torture reported by the organisation, one is the case of Alam Pirkani Baloch who belonged to the Pirkani tribe. Apparently, he was arrested and placed in the custody of the Federal Intelligence Unit (FIU). During his incarceration, he was allegedly hung upside down with some sort of sharp-edged tool between his thighs and in his hands.

After his hands and legs had bled for a while, he was taken down. Then chillies and salt were rubbed into his wounds.

In another incident, Ali Beig of the Marri tribe was said to have been arrested by personnel of the City Police Station, Quetta, and handed over to the FIU. He was made to stand naked in freezing weather, electric shocks were administered to him and he was beaten with strips of rubber. After two months of being in the custody of the Central Investigation Agency (CIA) and the FIU, he was transferred to a jail where the FIU would, allegedly, take him away at night for further torture. After a year, he was once again transferred to the FIU camp where he was subjected to torture with heavy steel rollers.

In another example of the types of activities taking place in Balochistan, Eid Mohammad, son of Haji Wali Jan, was arrested under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) Act. He was kept in custody for three months. At the time of his arrest, Eid was a student of class 8 and was only 14 years old at the time. Although details of what that happened to him during his detention are sketchy, it is reported that Eid can no longer go to school. He regularly suffers nightmares, during the course of which he screams hysterically and pleads that he should not be tortured.

These are just a few of the various incidents of alleged torture recorded by the HRCP in its fact-finding missions over the years.

Furthermore — and shockingly — these incidents of torture are not considered separate to and distinct from the instances of disappearances that are taking place in Balochistan.

In fact, many reports pouring in nowadays indicate that most of those desolate and mutilated bodies discovered on the uninhabited mountains or empty roads were actually persons reported as missing. Additionally, suspicion is raised by the fact that many such bodies come to light after there has been an attack on paramilitary or government forces that is blamed on nationalist forces.

Despite the seriousness of the situation in Balochistan, which is indicated by the examples given above, these incidents seem to have raised little concern in other parts of the country. The media appears more concerned about the presence of CIA agents in Pakistan than the actual damage that is being caused apparently by state agents in Balochistan. Meanwhile, the government of Pakistan is more concerned about completing its tenure than actually trying to heal the wounds of the Baloch.

The Supreme Court, on the other hand, appears more interested in issuing contempt notices to certain PPP leaders as compared to ensuring the fundamental rights of all those tortured and maimed souls who happen to call Balochistan their home. As for the people of Pakistan, sadly, they appear more interested in scrounging for national pride on the fields of Mohali rather than resurrecting the same on the shamed mountains and empty roads of Balochistan.

However, whatever the motives behind such dismissive attitudes, and civil society and the state authorities’ lack of reaction to such incidents, it is clear that the said acts have served to perhaps irreparably harm any possibility of the Baloch placing their trust in the state of Pakistan and attempting at reconciliation.In fact, it has unfortunately now come to such a head that the hatred that certain Baloch tribal people have long held for the state of Pakistan is seeping into other segments of society.

The educated classes, students as well as other parts of the middle class are all growing increasingly militant.

As stated by Jamil Bugti, son of the late Nawab Akbar, Bugti, “The next generation is all in the mountains, and they’re not willing to talk to anyone. People like me, and others, like the different nationalist parties that are in parliament, they don’t have any role to play. They look very good on TV. That’s about it.”

The writer is a Fulbright scholar and a Karachi based lawyer. basil.nabi@gmail.com

Courtesy: DAWNhttp://www.dawn.com/2011/04/12/failing-the-baloch.html

Call for army’s intervention mischievous and inappropriate

HRCP -Lahore, August 23: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has slammed as entirely inappropriate and mischievous the demand by the head of a political party for the military to “take any martial law-type action

Continue reading Call for army’s intervention mischievous and inappropriate

Rape ‘common’ in Punjab

Rape and “honour killings” have become widespread in some districts of Pakistan, according to the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP). A report, which is yet to be published, said more than 150 women were sexually assaulted in the first six months of the year in southern Punjab There were also about 40 so-called “honour killings”, carried out by men who allege that the behaviour of a woman has brought dishonour to their family.

Read more >> BBC

HRCP calls for immediate demilitarisation of Balochistan

Press release – Quetta (11 October 2009): The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) calls for immediate demilitarisation of Balochistan as the first confidence-building measure to start a political dialogue in the province and warns if corrective actions are not taken immediately with the concurrence of Balochistan’s people, the country may dearly regret the consequences. The full statement reads as follows:

Continue reading HRCP calls for immediate demilitarisation of Balochistan

Gojra Incident was engineered by Sipah-e-Sahabah

Gojra admin knew about pre-planned attacks: HRCP

Lahore – Press release, August 4: Last week’s attacks targeting the Christian community in Gojra were not a spontaneous reaction to allegations of blasphemy but were planned in advance, a fact-finding mission of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has found.

Continue reading Gojra Incident was engineered by Sipah-e-Sahabah