Table of Contents
- Strengthening AFAD’s Unity…
- Years of Trials and Triumphs…
- NO political reform, NO hope for justice…
- Hunger Strike
- Indonesian Human Rights Movement…
- Crime and Punishment
- Anti-enforced Disappearance Bill
- A Life That is Never The Same Again
- Kashmiri families of missing person stage…
- Disappearances in Sri Lanka
Report on International Lobbying
- A Narrative of Contrast
- Where are They?
- Working Towards an African Network
- Reduced to Ashes: The Insurgency…
Mid Year Report
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
“It is a great and dangerous error to suppose
that all people are equally entitled to liberty.
It is a reward to be earned
not a blessing to be
gratuitously lavished on all alike”.
by Atty. Farooq Niazi 1
The US led alliance against terrorism has created havoc in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It appears that the tower of liberty was smashed not by the terrorists but by Bush and his cronies. It is the greatest human tragedy. The champions of liberty, the rule of law, and human rights, after removing their Mask, have shown their real face. The protectors have turned out to be plunderers.
All the laws, regulations and provisions of their constitution have suddenly become silent and ineffective. The orderly procedures of constitutional democracy have become subservient to the arbitrariness of authoritarianism. The successive ruling elite’s lust for absolutism, disdain for constitutionalism and indulgence in deceit and huckstering have transformed Pakistan into a laboratory for various constitutional experiments. The Country’s constitution is fundamentally a regulatory interface between the people and their government, ensuring stability, civil liberties, social justice and welfare of state, but Pakistan’s constitutional tragedy is that its constitution has been amended, abrogated or kept in abeyance to meet the interests of the ruling caucus of the USA.
The US-Pakistan axis started right from the inception of Pakistan in 1947. Since then, its rulers serve the interests of USA with dedication and extreme loyalty. The alterations made in the basic law of the land have deprived the common man (and woman) of their basic human rights.
Pakistan is ruled by a closed, largely corrupt coterie of some 200 families. The army, civil bureaucracy and feudals are power brokers. The brutal use of state force with impunity has resulted in political social and economic suffocation. The front line role of Pakistan in fighting terrorism has further deteriorated the situation. More then 500 persons have been abducted from different places by FBI (USA) directly and taken to Cuba. The modus-operandi of abduction is that raids are usually, conducted at midnight. Sometimes victims are abducted from any place that suits the abductors. The local police or Magistrate is not consulted. As by law of this land, no arrest can be made without informing the local police and the arrested person is to be produced before a Magistrate within 24 hours of his arrest.
Disappearances in Pakistan are mostly due to extra judicial killings often in the form of staged police or army encounters. Most of the disappearances occur in rural areas and in areas close to the line of control, dividing states of Jammu and Kashmir into parts, 1/3 controlled by Pakistan and 2/3 by India. The area close to the line of control is a military zone. The disappearances are consciously caused to terrorize the civil society and to keep them under control. Armed bandits involved in smuggling and cross border terrorism are also involved in the crime of disappearance.
All the state authorities deny any involvement in abductions (arrest) even with a writ of habeas corpus filed by the family members of the victim in High Court. State agencies blatantly refuse to acknowledge the arrest of the victim, or any knowledge about him. The person abducted is immediately brought in for investigation. Even the Red Cross or any other international agency has no access to abducted persons. All the persons abducted and taken are victims of involuntary disappearance and the US and Pakistan Governments are the perpetrators of the offense. There is no extradition agreement between Pakistan and the USA. Even in extradition cases, the matter should be referred to local courts for proper orders and the victim is to be produced before the Court and given a chance to explain his position (the Laws become silent when the interests of the US and their henchman in Pakistan are involved).
The following are four typical cases registered by the Truth and Justice Commission. They are persons abducted from the operational areas of the Commission.
1. Name: Muhammad Ajaz Khan
2. Father’s Name: Muhammad Sharif Khan
3. Age: 28 years
4. Address: Village Gattal Tatiaz P.O. Hadry Khal District Bagh (AJK).
5. Date of Abduction: 6/7 October 2002
6. Reasons: Political disagreement
Mr. Ajaz was abducted from a tea stall when he was sipping tea during a short stoppage in his journey from Rawalpindi to his native town in a Public Transport at about 9.00p.m. His family members left no stone unturned but could not trace him. A report of disappearance was also registered in the police and a petition was also filed in the Court but of no use. The only success in this case is that the Red Cross has confirmed that he is still alive but his whereabouts are not known. There is no law in the statute books of USA or Pakistan authorizing any authority to pick up a person and lock him in a cage in Cuba without any trial. It appears we are back to cage age.
1. Name: Ehaseen Aziz
2. Father’s Name: Abdual Aziz
3. Age: 31 years
4. Address: Mirpur (150km from Islamabad)
5. Profession Engineer
6. Date of Abduction: 30 May, 2003
Mr. Ehaseen Aziz was an ex-student leader. He was abducted from his house at midnight of 29/30 May. Someone knocked at his door and Ehaseen came out to meet the knocker and never returned. His family members friends and political associates have made loud protests against his abduction. The local press has also covered the matter. His family members were asked to lie low, otherwise things could turn from bad to worse.
1. Name: Abdul Waheed Khani
2. Father’s Name: R.S. Khani
3. Age: 27 years
4. Address: Village Chokoti, District Muzaffarabad.
5. Date of Abduction: 10 July, 2003
Mr. Khani, a professional journalist of the first rank, was abducted by a secret agency of Pakistan from Rawalakot some 140 km from Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. He was going back to his head office in Muzaffarabad after covering a function organized by APNA. The Truth and Justice Commission and other human rights organizations including organizations of journalists organized protest rallies and put all the pressure in service in order to trace Mr. Khani. The local Government was also embarrassed. Ultimately Mr. Khani was taken to a far-flung forest area and released at midnight of 16th July. He is still in traumatic state and unable to express his feelings.
The fourth case is about a disappearance caused by militant bandits.
1. Name: Bashir Ahmed
2. Father’s Name: Noor Muhammad
3. Age: 22 years at the time of disappearance
4. Address: Refugee camp Muzaffarabad.
5. Date of Abduction: October 1996.
Mr. Basher had migrated from the Indian controlled Kashmir and was living in a refugee camp established at Muzaffarabad. He developed friendship with a militant on 2nd of September 1996. Bashir along with the militant went to the militant camp close to the ceasefire line. He was abducted at gun point and taken to the other side of the line of control. Since then, his whereabouts are not known.
These test cases speak volumes about the horrendous situation. The smile on the statute of liberty has been erased. The Gold has rusted and now there are only iron chains. Humanity is again in chains and the only way to break these chains is a vigorous struggle for democracy, rule of law and social justice. Human rights are only safe in a democratic setup.
1Atty. Farooq Niazi is a founding member of the Human Rights Movement in Pakistan. He is also a founding member of Civil Liberties Council and has remained its president for 8 years. Atty. Niazi is currently the Coordinator of Truth and Justice Commission in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan
VOICE September 2003