Rights advocate Rashid Rehman Khan gunned down in Multan (DAWN);Strongly condemn this mindless murder

source: http://www.dawn.com/news/1104788

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.

The Supreme Court advocate had submitted an application with the District Bar Association president Sher Zaman Qureshi last month, saying he was threatened by two lawyers and two other persons who asked him not to appear in the case he was representing.

Rehman was representing Junaid Hafeez, a lecturer at Bahauddin Zakariya University.

Hafeez was known for his liberal views at the university and the case of blasphemy was registered after pressure from right-wing student groups, said a student, who wished not to be named.

Pakistan has strict laws against defaming Islam, including the death penalty for blasphemy, and rights campaigners say they are often used to settle personal disputes.

A recent report from a US government advisory panel said Pakistan used blasphemy laws more than any other country in the world, listing 14 people on death row and 19 others serving life sentences for insulting Islam.

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United4Justice:

I strongly condemn this mindless murder especially if it is done in the name of Islam which preaches justice and human rights.

It is clearly mentioned in Quran that their is no compulsion in religion and Quran also emphasizes strongly on rights of people, importance of protecting lives and justice.  I pray for the victim and his family, and also pray for justice for them.

 

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PAKISTAN: Zarina Marri has been missing along with 429 persons since December 2005;The life of a disappeared student leader is in danger–>AHRC

After the 18th February 2008 elections it was expected that the newly elected government would try to improve the human rights situation and give some relief to the families of victims. But this proved to be another shattered dream of people blinded by their faith and hope, which soon turned into disbelief on the system for many.

It is amazing that in the time of elected government with new army chief and intelligence chiefs no actions were taken against those involved in these illegal and inhuman activities during the former dictator’s rule.

The statements by the Asian Human Rights Commission given below raises more questions about the seriousness of our government to solve the issue of missing persons.

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PAKISTAN: Zarina Marri has been missing along with 429 persons since December 2005

Source : http://www.ahrchk.net/statements/mainfile.php/2009statements/1855/

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AHRC-STM-020-2009
January 23, 2009

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission

PAKISTAN: Zarina Marri has been missing along with 429 persons since December 2005

The Asian Human Rights Commission has received further details in the case of Ms. Zarina Marri, a 23-year-old schoolteacher from Balochistan province, who has been held incommunicado in an army torture cell at Karachi, the capital of Sindh province and used as a sex slave, please see our statement; http://www.ahrchk.net/statements/mainfile.php/2009statements/1843/

The officials of the education department of Kahan have disclosed that Ms. Marri was a teacher at a government middle school in Kahan, Kohlu district, she was registered as Zarina Bi Bi and she was trained as a Junior Vocational Teacher. She was among those people who were transferred from Kohlu, Kahan, Sibi, Hernai, Much, Kohlo, Dera Bugti, Sabsilla, Bhambhoor, Loti, Dhaman, Pir Koh, Spin, Tangi, Babar Kach, Tandori and Sangan of the Balochistan province during December 2005 and July 2006 when the military government of the then President/General Musharraf was using aerial bombardments to defuse the nationalist movement of Balochistan against the construction of cantonment areas. On 14 December 2005, paramilitary troops accused the people of the area of firing eight rockets at a paramilitary base on the outskirts of the town of Kohlu, a stronghold of the Marri tribe, while President Pervez Musharraf was visiting it. After the visit of President/General Musharraf, within three days of the rocket firing incident, the paramilitary forces began attacking vast areas including the Kahan. It is reported in the media that the military government used the Pakistan air force for bombarding the area. During the fighting between local nationalist militants and the government forces particularly, due to the aerial bombardments, the local population started migrating to other places including to Punjab and Sindh provinces. Please also see urgent appeal of AHRC;
http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2006/1872/ dated July 21, 2006.

After some days around 429 persons left the Kahan, district Kohlu, and migrated towards Dera Ghazi Khan district, Punjab province, Zarina Marri and her parents were also among the caravan. Since then there is no trace of the caravan of 429 persons. After some months people tried to search the missing people and some army officers deputed at the Kohlu district told the people of the area that so many persons were killed in the fighting between the government forces and militants and also in aerial bombardments. But after the revelation from Mr. Munir Mengal, managing director of Baloch language television channel, to Reporters without Frontiers (RSF) that Zarina Baloch was in military torture cell at Karachi and was forced in to sexual slavery, the concern of the people of Kohlu, Kahan, and Dera Bugti has risen about the people of the 429 persons which includes more than 70 women, including many young women, who may be used as sex slaves by the Pakistan military.

The government of Pakistan has still not initiated any serious efforts to investigate the case of Ms. Zarina Marri, despite, of continuous demonstrations in several parts of the country including, Islamabad, capital of country for the recovery of Zarina Marri from the military torture cell at Karachi and halting the business of making young Baloch women work as sex slaves by the Pakistan army. The government’s ignorance of the serious crimes by the military officers during Musharraf’s regime is evidence for the people in the country that the present government still does not have the power to investigate the military misdoings.
The case of Miss Zarina Marri has ignited the narrow nationalist and secessionist feelings of the ethnic Baloch nation which can easily turn into a bloody mutiny against the state if the cases of sex slavery by the military torture cells are not investigated. The Asian Human Rights Commission urges the government to initiate a probe for the recovery of 429 people who are missing since December 2005. The government should also bring the persons who made Marina Marri work as a sex slave before the law regardless of how powerful they are or whether they are military persons.

For further information please see:

http://www.ahrchk.net/statements/mainfile.php/2006statements/708/

http://www.ahrchk.net/statements/mainfile.php/2006statements/715/
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PAKISTAN: The life of a disappeared student leader is in danger
Source : http://www.ahrchk.net/statements/mainfile.php/2009statements/2400/
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AHRC-STM-022-2010
February 4, 2010

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission

PAKISTAN: The life of a disappeared student leader is in danger

The life of a student leader who was arrested by state intelligence officials is in danger. It is apprehended that he might have been killed. The government of Balochistan says that he was released on January 22, 2010, but his family members have said that he has not yet returned home. They have inquired after him at all local police stations, asking if he was booked under another case, but have not been able to find him.

Mr. Zakir Majeed, a student leader, was allegedly abducted by state intelligence agents on June 8, 2009 from Mastung, near Quetta. Majeed is the senior vice chairperson of the Baloch Student Organization, Azad. His alleged abductors drove up in two cars without number plates and asked the young man a few questions, saying that they were intelligence agents.They took Majeed away with them in their cars without making any charges. One car was a Toyota Vego, the other a Toyota Surf SSR. After UN Special Rapporteurs on Disappearances wrote letters about Mr. Majeed’s disappearance, his release was announced by the National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC) For more details of the case, please see the following link, dated June 10, 2009; http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2009/3175/.

The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) has taken up Mr. Majeed’s case after the submission of the WGEID form by the AHRC. After an intervention was made by the WGEID, the government announced on January 22, 2010 that Mr. Majeed had been released. The Balochistan High Court also ordered that an FIR (First Investigation Report – a legal document for police investigation) be filed for Mr. Majeed. Until this point, the police refused to register the young man’s disappearance, and a case of habeas corpus was up for regular hearing before the High Court of Balochistan. On January 27, 2010, a police official at Khuzdar Police Station of Balochistan, asked the younger brother of the victim, Mr. Waheed Majeed, to file the FIR before the Mastung Police Station. He did so, but the FIR was not entertained. After an intervention was made by higher-ranked police officers, the FIR was finally lodged. On February 2, 2010 Mr. Aslam Bizenjo, Provincial Minister for Irrigation telephoned Mr. Waheed to inform him that according to the list provided by the NCMC, his brother had been released. The Provincial Minister then asked him to speak with Mr. Akbar Durrani, the Home Secretary of the Balochistan government for further details. The Home Secretary confirmed that Mr. Zakir Majeed had been released on January 22, according to the NCMC list published on its website.

These conflicting pieces of information about Mr. Zakir Majeed’s disappearance have created a great deal of confusion in the minds of Mr. Majeed’s family and the human rights activists who are working for his release. In many past cases, the bodies of the disappeared have been found abandoned on roadsides after courts have ordered for their release, or family members of the disappeared person in question testified in courts that the arrest was done by intelligence agents.

The Asian Human Rights Commission urges the provincial government of Balochistan and federal government of Pakistan to secure the safe release of Mr. Zakir Majeed immediately. Since government officials have already confirmed Mr. Majeed’s safe release, we call upon these officials to be held accountable for these confirmations of safety, and urge these officials to take direct action to reunite Mr. Majeed with his family.

Enforced disappearances of civilians and the perpetual lack of thorough investigation by state officials has become so common that the sanctity and dignity of each human life is being ruthlessly compromised in the name of personal or professional gain. The AHRC calls upon the government of Pakistan to take a strong stand against corruption at all levels of its justice system and take steps towards rebuilding the rule of law in the country.

Human Rights, Missing Persons And The Elected Government

Justice Javed Iqbal in his statement few days ago rightly pointed out to the fact that cases like missing persons pose real threat to democracy not the verdicts of Independent judiciary.  In his statements he further criticized the performance of the government institutions. He said no government institution is working properly and the system is on the verge of disaster. He further said someone had to intervene to save the system and huge cry was raised every time when court does it.

The issue of missing persons is considered as the main reason behind the attempted removal of CJP Iftikhar Chaudhary twice by Musharraf’s government. According to HRCP estimates there are 198 reported missing persons since 2007 out of which 66 are from the deprived province of Baluchistan. The estimated figure of unreported cases is much higher. In a talk show recently Asma Jehangir, Chairperson of  HRCP told that in 2009 there were 30 new cases of missing persons came to their knowledge.

After the 18th February 2008 elections it was expected that the newly elected government would try to improve the human rights situation and give some relief to the victim families. But this proved to be another shattered dream of people blinded by their faith and hope which soon turned into disbelief on the system for many.

Not only that all the people missing are not recovered but this heinous crime of illegally abducting the people is going on and hurdles are being created to trace the already missing. In a recent television interview Dr. Fawzia Siddiqi , sister of Dr. Aafia Siddiqi said the real danger from the release of Dr. Aafia is felt by those who are part of this evil network which kidnaps people and sell them. It is amazing that in the time of elected government with new army chief and intelligence chiefs no actions were taken against those involved in these illegal and inhuman activities during the former dictators rule. Government is using delaying tactics in Dr. Aafia case and has showed it’s inability to take the case in International Court of Justice.

In war hit areas of NWFP the situation is probably worse than other areas as there is no free media access and also judicial authority is almost none in many areas due to military control. Not only young but old and aged are being picked up by the security institutions in the name of war against terror. In a case filed by Syed Iqbal Kazmi, representative in Pakistan of Human Right Commission South Asia (HRCSA), an eighty years old man Wazir was picked up by Mohmand Rifles on September 2, 2009.Mohmand Rifles personnel picked up Wazir alleging that his son was involved in terrorist activities. In another case police and intelligence agencies in a joint raid picked up Usman Ali on January 29, 2009 from his house on suspicion of having relations with Taliban. Baluchistan is also facing similar situation though 20 of missing persons were released on political pressure  But still there are many including people like Pasand Khan Mandai from Baluchistan Worker’s Party were picked up by agencies during 2009 and their cases are still pending.

The statement by Justice Javed Iqbal clearly reflects the growing sentiments in Pakistani Society about the current democracy. Justice Javed Iqball said,” What type of democracy do we have wherein fundamental rights of the people could not be ensured?” The remarks were given while he was heading a three-member bench of the apex court, hearing petitions of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and others.

It seems that current so called democratic government has completely failed to protect the rights of our people. The situation demands real seriousness and sincerity, it is already too late. People are already fed up with inflation, corruption, load shedding and same old deceptions and lies. Government needs to take some real measures to rectify it’s mistakes and the mistakes committed during the time of the former dictator Musharraf otherwise things will go to the point of no return.

Some Updates Related To Black Flag Week–>Emergency mailing list and Black Flag week mailing list

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Today on March 9 2008 in front of the High Commission of Pakistan, London, the Pakistani community in the UK responded to the call of the Supreme Court Bar Association to show solidarity with the lawyers movement in Pakistan to restore judiciary and to ask Musharraf to step down immediately with Go Musharraf Go chanting. This is as mandated by the people of Pakistan based on the result of the recent elections.


There was also a clear demand for immediate release of the Chief Justice of Pakistan and others who are under house arrest and strong condemnation of violence used against the lawyers, civil society activists, students, political party members in Islamabad today who were trying to meet with the Chief Justice.
 
In the protest today, we had representation from the civil society including students, UK Lawyers Committee for Human Rights and Justice for Pakistan, Sibghat Kadri QC, political parties ie PPP, PML-N, PTI etc.

Based on the recent events today, we are very pleased to hear that a pact has been signed between the two mainstream parties to restore judicairy to the pre Nov 3rd state within 30 days and the London protest today shows how strongly the UK Pakistanis see this as a primary pillar for a democratic Pakistan.

Regs, 
 
Sibghat Kadri QC, Rabia Zia (UK PTI) 
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Dear Sarmad,
Please note that:
The Black Flag Hoisting at the residence of Mr. Iqbal Haider, Secretary General of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (D-25, Block 4, Clifton, just after Abdullah Shah Ghazi Mazar, Off. 26th Street, Karachi, Cell # 0300-8292888) will be held on Monday, the 10th of March 2008 at 05:00 pm
Regards.
Ejaz
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Black Flag Week

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Islamabad:

Saturday, 8th March:
Gather at Mr. Books in F-6 Supermarket for an address by Aitzaz Ahsan to traders of the area and a subsequent march to Aabpara.
Please do not forget that March 8th is International Women’s Day, hence WAF and other organizations have organized a march at 5:30 pm at China Chowk to the Parliament House.

All day camp near Mr. Books, Super Market to distribute flyers for rally and and black flags.

Sunday, 9th March:

Massive rally led by Aitzaz Ahsan from his Islamabad residence (Street 16, F-6/3) at 4 pm to the CJ’s residence. Bring black flags and wet towels in a plastic bag. Swimming goggles are also recommended since we anticipate heavy teargas.

Camp Sunday till 4 pm near Mr. Books, Super Market to distribute flyers for rally and and black flags. Imran Khan will lead a rally from here to join Aitzaz Ahsan’s rally.
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Lahore:

Saturday, 8th March:
Car Rally to Advertise Black Flag Week: Cars will be divided in 3 groups to leave from 5 Zaman Park (Nehr Ghar) at 3 pm on separate routes (routes will be given on arrival).

Sunday, 9th March:
Car Rally to leave 5 Zaman Park (Nehr Ghar) at 3 pm for Justice Ramday’s

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Karachi:

Saturday, 8th March:
Flag hoisting:

*Women’s Action Forum (WAF), 11:30 am at Teen Talwar

*Jinnah Medical University (Medicare Hospital), 5 pm, Shaheed e Millat Road

*Iqbal Haider’s House, 6 pm, B-25, Block 4, KDA 5, Clifton (behind Designers on 26th Street)

Sunday, 9th March:
Protest with political parties at 3 pm at Karachi Press Club
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London:


Sunday, 9th March
:
Protest in front of Pakistani High Commission in London 2 PM – 3 PM. Contact Taimur Rehman ( 07825160691) for details.

In Solidarity,
Samad

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Samad Khurram
Harvard College
394 Winthrop House Mail Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
E-Mail: skhurram@fas.harvard.edu
Cell(US): +1-(617)960-7289
Cell(PK): +92-300-5599085


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