PAKISTAN: Four persons including a writer, teacher and Ahmadi disappeared after arrest

Dear Friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received updated information regarding the disappearances of four persons from Sindh province–a famous writer, a teacher, a government employee, and an Ahmadi–after their arrests by men in uniforms. All four persons are from Badin district. The police deny their arrest and have advised family members to take up the matter of forced disappearances with higher authorities. Family members told reporters that all four persons were tortured during the raids on their homes, before being taken away. The family members fear they will be extrajudicially killed, particularly as the teacher was abducted previously as well, and kept at a military detention center for a few months, before being released.

CASE NARRATIVE:

In the early hours of 24 May 2017, from 1:30 a.m. to 5 a.m., law enforcement agencies in uniforms raided four houses in Badin district, Sindh, and dragged out a school teacher, a writer, a government employee, and an Ahmadi. They were tortured in front of their family members and then taken away, and their whereabouts are since unknown. The media has quoted sources from the security establishment saying that the four disappeared persons are accused of being from the JSQM (Arisar group) nationalist party, known as being anti-terrorism.

Mr. Ghulam Raza Jarwar, 47, son of Nabi Bux Jarwar, a prominent short story writer, was arrested on May 24, at 1:30 a.m. by men in Rangers uniforms and plain clothed persons. Some of his family members were also manhandled. Mr. Ghulam was well known for writing articles and columns against religious intolerance and extremism. He is also the uncle of Mr. Salemm Jarwar, the district coordinator of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, who was very vocal against the disappearances in Sindh and started a campaign against the disappearances.

Mr. Ali Ahmed Bughio, 32, from Tando Bagho town of the same district, was arrested at 3 a.m. from his residence. He is an official Badin Municiple Committee, in the department of water supply. He was taken away in a double cabin jeep and one police vehicle. When his family members inquired into the reason for his arrest, the uniformed men simply manhandled him.

Mr. Shadi Khan Soomro, 45, son of Muhammad Soomar Soomro, resident of Goth Noor Mohammad Soomro, Badin, was arrested at around 4 a.m. from his home. He is a primary school teacher. He was taken away blindfolded, and there was one police vehicle and two double cabin jeeps used. He was earlier arrested and disappeared in 2016 by the military. After his earlier release, he disclosed that he was kept in a military detention center where he was questioned about his affiliation with JSQM Arisar group. Not finding any affiliation with the nationalist group, he was released.

Then at 5.00 a.m., uniformed and plain clothed men raided the house of an Ahmadi, Mr. Abdul Aziz, 25, son of Mohammad Abbas. The only bread earner in the family, Abdul Aziz was blindfolded and dragged away. He was first beaten before the family members to keep them quiet.

The police station refused to file the reports of all four arrests, and their whereabouts remain unknown.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Clause 1 of Article 1 of the Declaration on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance, 1992, states, 

Any act of enforced disappearance is an offence to human dignity. It is condemned as a denial of the purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and as a grave and flagrant violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and reaffirmed and developed in international instruments in this field.” 

Clauses 1 and 2 of the same Declaration reiterate that:

1. No State shall practise, permit or tolerate enforced disappearances. 
2. States shall act at the national and regional levels and in cooperation with the United Nations to contribute by all means to the prevention and eradication of enforced disappearance
.” 

Since 2010, over 1200 cases of missing persons in Sindh have been reported. The UPR submitted to the Human Rights Council by the ALRC and WSC in March 2017 provides details of enforced disappearances in Sindh. 

Enforced disappearance is frequently used as a strategy to spread terror within society. The feeling of insecurity and fear it generates is not limited to the close relatives of the disappeared, but also affects communities and society as a whole.

According to statistics released by the Commission of Enquiry for Enforced Disappearances, till March 2017 a total of 3915 cases were reported in Pakistan, of which 2652 cases were resolved; 1263 people hence remain missing. The report also states that 64 new cases were reported in January, while 52 more were reported in February. Notwithstanding the official numbers, the government is in denial of the existence of the menace.

SUGGESTED ACTION:

Please write the letters to the following authorities calling on them to ensure the safe recovery of the four disappeared persons on May 24. Please urge the government to end the unethical practice of enforced disappearances, and criminalise all acts of disappearance. The government must immediately release Mr. Ghulam Raza Jarwar, Mr. Ali Ahmed Bughio, Mr. Shadi Khan Soomro and Mr. Abdul Aziz, and if there are cases against them they should be tried in open courts. The responsible authorities and persons must be prosecuted. 

The AHRC is writing a separate letter to the UN Working Group on enforced and Involuntary Disappearances calling for its intervention into this matter.

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER

SAMPLE LETTER

Dear ___________, PAKISTAN: Four persons including a writer, teacher and Ahmadi were disappeared after their arrest Names of victims: 1. Mr. Ghulam Raza Jarwar, 47, son of Nabi Bux Jarwar, holder of National Identity Card (NIC), 41103 2145396-9, Resident of Amanabad, Digri town, district Badin, Sindh 2. Mr. Ali Ahmed Bughio, 32, resident of Tando Bagho town, Khuda abad, Badin district, Sindh 3. Mr. Shadi Khan Soomro, 45, son of Muhammad Soomar Soomro, NIC no; 41101 564185-5, resident of Goth Noor Mohammad Soomro, district Badin, Sindh 4. Mr. Abdul Aziz, 25, son of Mohammad Abbas, NIC no; 41101 2451988-3, resident of Tando Bagho, District Badin, Sindh Names of alleged perpetrators: Law Enforcement Agencies Date of incidents: May 24, 2016 Place of incidents: Badin district, Sindh province I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the disappearances of four persons from Sindh province, including a famous writer, a teacher, and an Ahmadi, after their arrests by men in uniforms. These all persons are from Badin district, Sindh. The police deny their arrest and have advised family members to take up the matter of forced disappearances with higher authorities. I condemn that the persons from law enforcement agencies tortured them during the raids on their houses, before being taken away. The family members fear they will be extrajudicially killed, particularly as the teacher was abducted previously as well, and kept at a military detention center for a few months, before being released. According to the reports received by me, in the early hours of 24 May 2017, from 1:30 a.m. to 5 a.m., law enforcement agencies in uniforms raided four houses in Badin district, Sindh, and dragged out a school teacher, a writer, a government employee, and an Ahmadi. They were tortured in front of their family members and then taken away, and their whereabouts are since unknown. The media has quoted sources from the security establishment saying that the four disappeared persons are accused of being from the JSQM (Arisar group) nationalist party, known as being anti-terrorism. Mr. Ghulam Raza Jarwar, 47, son of Nabi Bux Jarwar, a prominent short story writer, was arrested on May 24, at 1:30 a.m. by men in Rangers uniforms and plain clothed persons. Some of his family members were also manhandled. Mr. Ghulam was well known for writing articles and columns against religious intolerance and extremism. He is also the uncle of Mr. Salemm Jarwar, the district coordinator of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, who was very vocal against the disappearances in Sindh and started a campaign against the disappearances. Mr. Ali Ahmed Bughio, 32, from Tando Bagho town of the same district, was arrested at 3 a.m. from his residence. He is an official Badin Municiple Committee, in the department of water supply. He was taken away in a double cabin jeep and one police vehicle. When his family members inquired into the reason for his arrest, the uniformed men simply manhandled him. Mr. Shadi Khan Soomro, 45, son of Muhammad Soomar Soomro, resident of Goth Noor Mohammad Soomro, Badin, was arrested at around 4 a.m. from his home. He is a primary school teacher. He was taken away blindfolded, and there was one police vehicle and two double cabin jeeps used. He was earlier arrested and disappeared in 2016 by the military. After his earlier release, he disclosed that he was kept in a military detention center where he was questioned about his affiliation with JSQM Arisar group. Not finding any affiliation with the nationalist group, he was released. Then at 5.00 a.m., uniformed and plain clothed men raided the house of an Ahmadi, Mr. Abdul Aziz, 25, son of Mohammad Abbas. The only bread earner in the family, Abdul Aziz was blindfolded and dragged away. He was first beaten before the family members to keep them quiet. I am appalled to know that the police stations have refused to file the reports of all four arrests, and their whereabouts remain unknown. I therefore, urge you to ensure the safe recovery of the four disappeared persons on May 24. I also urge the government to end the unethical practice of enforced disappearances, and criminalise all acts of disappearance. The government must immediately release Mr. Ghulam Raza Jarwar, Mr. Ali Ahmed Bughio, Mr. Shadi Khan Soomro and Mr. Abdul Aziz, and if there are cases against them they should be tried in open courts. The responsible authorities and persons must be prosecuted.   Yours Sincerely, ………………. PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO: 1. Mr. Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif Prime Minister Prime Minister House Islamabad PAKISTAN Fax: +92 51 922 1596 Tel: +92 51 920 6111,  E-mail: secretary@cabinet.gov.pk, pspm@pmsectt.gov.pk 2. Mr. Murad Ali Shah Chief Minister of Sindh The Government of Sindh Province  Karachi, Sindh Province PAKISTAN Fax: +92 21 920 2000 Email: pressecy@cmsindh.gov.pk 3. Mr. Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan Minister  Ministry of Interior of Pakistan R Block, Pak Secretariat Islamabad  PAKISTAN Tel: +92 51 9212026 Fax: +92 51 9202624 Email: interior.complaintcell@gmail.com, ministry.interior@gmail.com 4. Mr. Kamran Michael Minister For Human Rights  Through Secretary, Ministry of Human Right ministry of human rights State Life Building No. 5, Blue Area, Jinnah Avenue, China Chowk,  Islamabad  Tel: 051-9216620,  Fax: 051-9216621, Email: secretary@mohr.gov.pk 5. Mr. Tahir Shahbaz Registrar Supreme Court of Pakistan Constitution Avenue, Islamabad PAKISTAN Fax: +92 51 9213452 Email: mail@supremecourt.gov.pk 6. Chief Justice of Sindh High Court High Court Building Saddar, Karachi Sindh Province PAKISTAN Fax: +92 21 9213220 7. Home Minister, Government of Sindh Barrack 79, Pakistan Secretariat Near MPA hostel Karachi, Sindh Province PAKISTAN Fax: +92 21 9204456 Tel: +92 21 9201920-1 E-mail: secy.home@sindh.gov.pk 8. Justice Majida Rizvi Regional Directorate of Human Rights,  Block no. 5, Sindh Secretariat No.4-A, Frere Road, Karachi. Ph: 92-21-99205835  Fax: 92-21-99205837 Email: justicerazvi@hotmail.com Thank you. Urgent Appeals Programme Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)