Home / News / Urgent Appeals / PAKISTAN: A couple was abducted from Nepal, arrested and tortured in India to confess that they were agents of the ISI and were planning to assassinate chief minister of Gujrat

PAKISTAN: A couple was abducted from Nepal, arrested and tortured in India to confess that they were agents of the ISI and were planning to assassinate chief minister of Gujrat

March 18, 2013

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-043-2013



18 March 2013
---------------------------------------------------------------------
PAKISTAN: A couple was abducted from Nepal, arrested and tortured in India to confess that they were agents of the ISI and were planning to assassinate chief minister of Gujrat

ISSUES: Torture; arbitrary detention; women rights; impunity; rule of law
---------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that a newlywed Pakistani couple was abducted from Nepal by agents of the Indian intelligence agencies while they were leaving for Pakistan. They were quickly shifted to India where they were kept in a private torture cell for 17 days where they suffered severe torture before being transferred to Tihar Jail, New Delhi. They were charged for being spies from Pakistan, sent to assassinate Mr. Moodi, the chief minister of Gujrat where the police also claimed they were arrested from. The groom was severely tortured which resulted in the disability of one leg, signs of electrical shocks were still visible on his back and his genitalia had been burned with cigarettes. The bride was beaten for several days by the women police officials. The couple was forced to confess that they were from Pakistan's notorious intelligence agency, the ISI.

The couple has now been enlarged on bail but cannot leave India before the decision of the case. They have no funds with which to survive and most of the time remains outside different mosques in Ahmadabad, Gujrat following Friday prayers to beg but people refuse to help the couple as they have been accused of being Pakistan agents. The couple is surviving on charity from different philanthropist organizations and shrines but the amount they receive is insufficient for the whole day.

The Pakistan High Commission (PHC) has flatly refused to help the couple as it would be dangerous for the couple in reference to the continual strained relationship between the two countries.

CASE NARRATIVE:

The Delhi police crime branch claims to have foiled an alleged plan of a Pakistan spy agency, the ISI, to settle its spies in India. The police said they recently arrested two fresh recruits of the spy agency, including a woman, from the New Delhi railway station. This announcement came on 12 December 2011 but in the same announcement police said that the couple was arrested on 5 December when they arrived at New Delhi railway station with a plan to kill the chief minister of Gujrat. The Indian media was so biased that it has not enquired from the police as to when were they were arrested and why the police took one week time to produce them before the court? This act of police is against the Indian law according to the section 57 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPc). The police is bound to produce an accused person within 24 hours of arrest. The Indian media has still not contacted the couple to get their side of the story but in its so called nationalism scandalized the couple as Pakistani agents.

According to the details received through the victims and legal documents Mr. Imran Yousaf Chippa, son of Mohammad Yousaf and Sofia Kanwal were married in October 2011 in Karachi, Pakistan. They went to Nepal for their honey moon on 17 November 2011 with the return ticket of 24 November. On the departure day as the couple were going to Katmandu air port in a taxi, a Suzuki gypsy jeep cut them off and four persons from the jeep asked their identity. As the police saw the Pakistani passports they were taken to a nearby police station. They were forcefully pushed into the jeep and their hands were chained and their eyes were blindfolded with the dopatta (a piece of cloth which generally women in south Asia use for covering the front portion of the body).

After 30 hours of the drive they were locked in a room and later on after several days of detention they came to know that it was a farm hours near the New Delhi airport. The officers sitting in the jeep were taking the names of each other in numbers like one two, three and whenever they were contacted to their center through the wireless they told that a Pakistani couple has been arrested from Nepal. The couple was kept there up to 12 December 2011 and were severely tortured to confess that they were working for the ISI and had planned to kill Mr. Moodi, the chief minister of Gujrat state.

Imran, the victim, was tortured continuously for all the days of his illegal captivity, his legs were tortured to the point where he cannot walk or sit properly. His right leg was injured with a knife and it is almost paralysed. His back still bears visible signs of electric shocks. His genitalia also has signs of cigarette burning. When he was hung upside down alcohol was poured into his anus. The nerves of the legs were damaged during the interrogation which was taken by many intelligence agencies including the notorious Indian agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). During the interrogation, it was told to the couple that they were arrested from Nepal by the agents of RAW. Sofia, the wife, was beaten with fists and kicked to confess. At many times she was threatened with raped if she did not confess.

On 12 December, early in the morning, the couple was told that they are going to release them as the agencies did not find any evidence of them being agents of the ISI. They were taken in a jeep to an unknown place and after a one hour long drive at 4 PM the couple found themselves before the Tis Hazari court at New Delhi. When they were taken out from the jeep a heavy contingent of media people arrived and was estimated to be not less than 200 persons. For further information, please read the report published in the Hindustan Times and an audiovisual report broadcast in News24 TV regarding this case.

The couple was produced before the court of Mr. Vinod Yadev, the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) who immediately sent them for judicial remand and couple was lodged in Tihar Jail. After court proceedings the police addressed the media and claimed that the couple was arrested from Delhi railway station and had the plan to assassinate the chief minister of Gujrat. The media have not asked to interview the couple. The media and journalists ran many concocted stories against the couple without listening to their side of the story when they were produced in the court. During the court proceeding through the evidences it was proved that they were arrested from Nepal but the media have never covered this fact and totally ignored it in an effort to spread sensationalism and hatred against the neighbouring country.

In the month of March 2012, Imran took off his clothes before the judge and revealed the torture marks on his body and asked the judge to listen to the actual facts from them. The judge finally agreed to do so. He took his statement in his chamber and for the next six days he continuously asked the couple to come and record statements with all evidence. On 20 March 2012, the judge granted interim bail to the couple for two days and it continued every two days for some time. Finally on April 13 the couple received bail and was released. The couple lives in Gujrat as it was Imran's place of birth place but his relatives and friends do not want to associate with him as he has been declared by the media as an agent of Pakistan. Please see the attachment of the court decision for their bail.

After release on interim bail, Imran has also written many letters to presidents, prime ministers and concerned ministries including the High Commission of Pakistan in New Delhi for help in the case which was totally false and cooked up by RAW. The couple has also written to international human rights organizations including Amnesty International and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan but is still waiting for action from these organizations. He also approached the National Human Rights Commission of India who has written letters to the ministry for interior in the month of July 2012, but no reply has yet been received by the couple or NHRC.

The couple has also written and contacted the High Commission of Pakistan at New Delhi several times and it was told to them not to contact the commission because it would be said that Pakistan was involved in their case. The authorities have flatly refuse to help them and even asked the couple not make contact by telephone otherwise India would blame Pakistan.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write the letters to the authorities in Pakistan and India calling for the release and safe repatriation of Mr. Imran and Sofia who were arrested from Nepal, taken to India and tortured and arrested on the false charges of entering India illegally with the plan to kill the chief minister of Gujrat state. Please urge the authorities in India to initiate a judicial enquiry of the case of Imran and Sofia and prosecute all those officials of the intelligence agencies who fabricated charges of espionage and arrested them from Nepal and find out on whose authority they act freely in the jurisdiction of other countries? Please also urge the Pakistani authorities to contact the Indian government for the safe and unconditional release of the couple. Also urge the Nepali authorities to stop the illegal operations of Indian agencies.

The AHRC has written a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteurs on the Question of Torture and arbitrary arrest calling for his intervention into this matter.

To support this appeal, please click here:

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear ___________,

PAKISTAN: A couple was abducted from Nepal, arrested and tortured in India to confess that they were agents of the ISI and were planning to assassinate chief minister of Gujrat

Name of victim:
1. Mr. Imran Yousaf Chippa, son of Mohammad Yousaf
2. Ms. Sofia, wife of Imran Yousaf Chippa
Both are residents of house number A-59, Block C, North Nazimabad, Karachi, Sindh province, Pakistan
Alleged perpetrators:
1. India's external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)
2. Other intelligence agencies of India
Date of incident: 24 November 2011
Place of incident: Kathmandu, Nepal

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the abduction of a Pakistani couple from Nepal allegedly by the Indian intelligence agencies Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). They were then taken to India where the couple was kept in illegal detention for more than 17 days and bitterly tortured. The couple after four months of their arrest was released on bail and they cannot go back to Pakistan till the final decision of the case. As the couple does not have any they are surviving by begging before the mosques and shrines.

This is very shocking for me and I would like to know under which authority Indian intelligence agencies operate freely outside of their own jurisdiction and in a sovereign country? The action of the Indian intelligence agency is in violation of all norms and the respect of others sovereignty. It has been reported that the RAW maintain several agents in Nepal and harass people from different parts of South Asia. They first find out if their victims have any money with which to buy their freedom and if they do not they are charged as being agents of enemy countries.

I received the information that Mr. Imran Yousaf Chippa, son of Mohammad Yousaf and Sofia Kanwal were married in October 2011 in Karachi-Pakistan. They went to Nepal for their honey moon on 17 November 2011 with the return ticket of 24 November. On the departure day as the couple was going to Katmandu air port in a taxi, a Suzuki gypsy jeep cut them off and four persons from the jeep asked their identity. As the police saw the Pakistani passports they were taken to a nearby police station. They were forcefully pushed in to jeep and their hands were chained and their eyes were folded with the dopatta (a piece of cloth which generally women in south Asia use for covering the front portion of the body).

After 30 hours of the drive they were locked in a room and later on after several days of detention they came to know that it was a farm hours near the New Delhi airport. The officers sitting in the jeep were taking the names of each other in numbers like one two, three and whenever they were contacted to their center through the wireless they told that a Pakistani couple has been arrested from Nepal. The couple was kept there up to 12 December 2011 and were severely tortured to confess that they were working for the Pakistan spy agency and had planned to kill Mr. Moodi, the chief minister of Gujrat state.

I am appalled that Imran, the victim, was tortured continuously for all the days of his illegal captivity, his legs were tortured to the point where he cannot walk or sit properly. His right leg was injured with a knife and it is almost paralysed. His back still bears visible signs of electric shocks. His genitalia also have signs of cigarette burning. When he hung upside down alcohol was poured into his anus. The nerves of the legs are ruptured during the interrogation which was taken by many intelligence agencies including notorious Indian agency, RAW. During the interrogation, it was told to the couple that they were arrested from Nepal by the agents of RAW. Sofia, the wife, was beaten with fists and kicked to confess. At many times she was threatened with raped if she did not confess.

On 12 December, early in the morning, the couple was told that they are going to release them as the agencies did not find any evidence of being agent of ISI. They were taken in a jeep to an unknown place and after one hour long drive at 4 PM the couple found themselves before the Tees Hazari court at New Delhi. When they were taken out from the jeep a heavy contingent of media persons arrived and was estimated to be not less than 200 persons. For further information, please read the report published in the Hindustan Times and an audiovisual report broadcast in News24 TV regarding this case.

The couple was produced before the court of Mr. Vinod Yadev, the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) who immediately sent them for judicial remand and couple was lodged in Tihar Jail. After court proceedings the police addressed the media and claimed that the couple was arrested from Delhi railway station and had the plan to assassinate chief minister of Gujrat. The media have not asked to interview the couple. The media and journalists ran many concocted stories against the couple without taking the views from the couple as they were produced in the court. During the court proceeding through the evidences it was proved that they were arrested from the Nepal but the media have never covered this fact and totally ignored it in an effort to spread sensationalism and hatred against the neighbouring country.

In the month of March 2012, Imran took off his clothes before the judge and revealed the torture marks on his body and asked the judge to listen to the actual facts from the couple. The judge finally agreed to do so. He took his statement in his chamber and for the next six days he continuously asked the couple to come and record statements with all evidences. On 20 March 2012, the judge granted interim bail to the couple for two days and it continued every two days for some more days. Finally on April 13 the couple received bail and was released. The couple lives in Gujrat as Imran's birth place was Gujrat but his relatives and friends do not want to associate with him as he has been declared by the media as an agent of Pakistan.

I cannot understand as to why, when the judge in this matter was shown actual evidence that torture had been committed in custody, he did not immediately take action to assist the victims and take legal action against the intelligence officials and police officers concerned. The court also did not ask where the victims had been for the seven days of their detention as the law of India clearly state that an arrested person must be produced in court within 24 hours.

The action, or rather lack of action on the part of the Pakistan High Commission is shameful if not actually criminal. To ignore a citizen of their country that has been falsely charged on the one hand and is forced to beg in the streets in order to survive on the other is unconscionable. Can it be that the High Commission was reluctant to take action because it was afraid that if they revealed the illegal actions of the India intelligence agency then the India side might also reveal the illegal actions of the Pakistani ISI?

It is regretful that the government of Nepal is ignoring the fact that it has allowed its sovereign soil to be used as a battle ground by the intelligence agencies of two foreign governments. There have also been reports that the ISI is also carrying out similar acts.

I, therefore, urge the India authorities to initiate a judicial enquiry of the case of Imran and Sofia and prosecute all those officials of the Indian intelligence agencies who fabricated charges of espionage and arrested them from Nepal and on whose authority they act freely in the jurisdiction of other countries? I also urge the Pakistani authorities to contact the Indian government for the safe and unconditional release of the couple. I urge the Nepali authorities to stop the illegal operations of all foreign intelligence agencies in their country. Furthermore, the authorities in Pakistan must conduct an immediate inquiry into the appalling behaviour of the officers of the High Commission of Pakistan for their lack of action to assist their own nationals in distress. The victims must be compensated for the ordeal they have suffered by both countries.

Yours sincerely,

------------------------------------
PLEASE SEND LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. Asif Ali Zardari
President of Pakistan
President's Secretariat
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Tel +92 51 9204801+51 9214171
Fax: +92 51 9207458
Email: publicmail@president.gov.pk

2. Dr. Manmohan Singh
Prime Minster
Government of India
Room No. 148 B, South Block
New Delhi
INDIA
Fax: + 91 11 230116857; 23015603
Email: manmohan@sansad.nic.in

3. Chairperson
National Human Rights Commission
Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg
New Delhi 110001
INDIA
Fax: + 91 11 2338 4863
E-mail: chairnhrc@nic.in

4. Mr. Raja Pervez Ashraf
Prime Minister of Pakistan
Prime Minister House
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: + 92 51 9221596
E-mail: secretary@cabinet.gov.pk, pspm@pmsectt.gov.pk

5. Prime Minister of Nepal
Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Minister of Nepal
Singh Darbar, Kathmandu
P.O. Box: 23312
NEPAL
Tel: +977 1 4211000
Fax: +977 1 4211086
Email: info@opmcm.gov.np

6. Home Minister of Nepal
Home Ministry
Singh Darbar, Kathmandu
NEPAL
Fax: +977 1 42 11 232

7. Federal Minister for Human Rights
Ministry of Human Rights
Old US Aid building
Ata Turk Avenue
G-5, Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 51 9204108
Email: sarfaraz_yousuf@yahoo.com


Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

Document Type :
Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID :
AHRC-UAC-043-2013
Countries :
Document Actions
Share |
Subscribe to our Mailing List
Follow AHRC
Extended Introduction: Urgent Appeals, theory and practice

A need for dialogue

Many people across Asia are frustrated by the widespread lack of respect for human rights in their countries.  Some may be unhappy about the limitations on the freedom of expression or restrictions on privacy, while some are affected by police brutality and military killings.  Many others are frustrated with the absence of rights on labour issues, the environment, gender and the like. 

Yet the expression of this frustration tends to stay firmly in the private sphere.  People complain among friends and family and within their social circles, but often on a low profile basis. This kind of public discourse is not usually an effective measure of the situation in a country because it is so hard to monitor. 

Though the media may cover the issues in a broad manner they rarely broadcast the private fears and anxieties of the average person.  And along with censorship – a common blight in Asia – there is also often a conscious attempt in the media to reflect a positive or at least sober mood at home, where expressions of domestic malcontent are discouraged as unfashionably unpatriotic. Talking about issues like torture is rarely encouraged in the public realm.

There may also be unwritten, possibly unconscious social taboos that stop the public reflection of private grievances.  Where authoritarian control is tight, sophisticated strategies are put into play by equally sophisticated media practices to keep complaints out of the public space, sometimes very subtly.  In other places an inner consensus is influenced by the privileged section of a society, which can control social expression of those less fortunate.  Moral and ethical qualms can also be an obstacle.

In this way, causes for complaint go unaddressed, un-discussed and unresolved and oppression in its many forms, self perpetuates.  For any action to arise out of private frustration, people need ways to get these issues into the public sphere.

Changing society

In the past bridging this gap was a formidable task; it relied on channels of public expression that required money and were therefore controlled by investors.  Printing presses were expensive, which blocked the gate to expression to anyone without money.  Except in times of revolution the media in Asia has tended to serve the well-off and sideline or misrepresent the poor.

Still, thanks to the IT revolution it is now possible to communicate with large audiences at little cost.  In this situation there is a real avenue for taking issues from private to public, regardless of the class or caste of the individual.

Practical action

The AHRC Urgent Appeals system was created to give a voice to those affected by human rights violations, and by doing so, to create a network of support and open avenues for action.  If X’s freedom of expression is denied, if Y is tortured by someone in power or if Z finds his or her labour rights abused, the incident can be swiftly and effectively broadcast and dealt with. The resulting solidarity can lead to action, resolution and change. And as more people understand their rights and follow suit, as the human rights consciousness grows, change happens faster. The Internet has become one of the human rights community’s most powerful tools.   

At the core of the Urgent Appeals Program is the recording of human rights violations at a grass roots level with objectivity, sympathy and competence. Our information is firstly gathered on the ground, close to the victim of the violation, and is then broadcast by a team of advocates, who can apply decades of experience in the field and a working knowledge of the international human rights arena. The flow of information – due to domestic restrictions – often goes from the source and out to the international community via our program, which then builds a pressure for action that steadily makes its way back to the source through his or her own government.   However these cases in bulk create a narrative – and this is most important aspect of our program. As noted by Sri Lankan human rights lawyer and director of the Asian Human Rights Commission, Basil Fernando:

"The urgent appeal introduces narrative as the driving force for social change. This idea was well expressed in the film Amistad, regarding the issue of slavery. The old man in the film, former president and lawyer, states that to resolve this historical problem it is very essential to know the narrative of the people. It was on this basis that a court case is conducted later. The AHRC establishes the narrative of human rights violations through the urgent appeals. If the narrative is right, the organisation will be doing all right."

Patterns start to emerge as violations are documented across the continent, allowing us to take a more authoritative, systemic response, and to pinpoint the systems within each country that are breaking down. This way we are able to discover and explain why and how violations take place, and how they can most effectively be addressed. On this path, larger audiences have opened up to us and become involved: international NGOs and think tanks, national human rights commissions and United Nations bodies.  The program and its coordinators have become a well-used tool for the international media and for human rights education programs. All this helps pave the way for radical reforms to improve, protect and to promote human rights in the region.