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PAKISTAN: Officers of the Pakistan Rangers abduct a subordinate from a police station to settle his wife's court case of harassment against senior officers

April 13, 2012

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-060-2012

13 April 2012

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PAKISTAN: Officers of the Pakistan Rangers abduct a subordinate from a police station to settle his wife's court case of harassment against senior officers

ISSUES: Abduction, torture, arbitrary arrest, violence against women, sexual harassment, impunity
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Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that officers of the Pakistan Rangers (Sindh) have been continuously harassing the wife of a subordinate officer with ill intention for three years. In the latest development high officials of the Pakistan Rangers abducted her husband and his whereabouts are presently unknown. The Pakistan Rangers wanted to have an out of court settlement on the constitutional petition filed by his wife for the harassment she endured. He was abducted twice during the last 24 hours and managed to escape the first attempt. He was illegally detained last night for 12 hours in three different police stations without any charge and in the early hours of this morning (13 April), 12 intelligence personnel from the intelligence wing under the leadership of the Wing Commander of 50 Sachal Sarmast Wing, abducted him from the police station. He was also tortured in three different police stations to force to urge his wife to withdraw the cases against the high officials of the Rangers.

The victim's wife was prevented by Rangers officials from entering her residence where her children are trapped. She filed different petitions in the Sindh High Court against the high officials of Pakistan rangers stationed at Karachi in which she alleged that the officers were trying to harras her with ill-intentions and that her husband has been victimized because she refused to have intimate relations with one of the high officials.

CASE NARRATIVE:

Mrs. Nasreen Iqbal, the wife of Sub-Inspector Muhammad Iqbal (SI) of the Pakistan Rangers, was a teacher and running a school with the name Excellence Grammar in Sector No. 6, Surjani Town Karachi, Sindh Province. Her husband has been in the Pakistan Rangers (Sindh) for almost nine years. In 2008 he was posted to Karachi and applied for family accommodation which was allotted in November 2008.

Wing Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Mehmood Shah was the former Commander of Wing-60 at Baldia Town, Karachi, where the harassment was initiated. The Commander started to sexually harass Mrs. Nasreen Iqbal by calling her on her phone at different times and frequently in the late evening. SI Iqbal, on many occasions requested him to cease this unacceptable behaviour but the Wing Commander further victimized Mrs Iqbal by transferring her husband from one area to another and throwing the family out of the official residence. After finding no option she filed cases in the High Court for remedy. During the court proceedings it was observed that the court would deliver decisions in her favour and provided her relief from the harassment.

The situation reached saturation point for the Rangers and they decided to teach her and her family a lesson. Yesterday, (12 April) some officials from the Rangers abducted and blindfolded SI Iqbal near Aisha Manzil, F. B. Area, Karachi and took him to unknown location. However, at a traffic Jam he managed to escape. The men followed him and then again after two hours nabbed him with the help of police and locked him up in the North Nazimabad Police Station. During the night he was moved to two different stations of North Nazimabad and Jamshed Quarter and was tortured in order to force him to get his wife to withdraw the of cases. When he refused to do this he was again abducted by 12 armed officials of the Intelligence Wing lead by Lieutenant Colonel Ishrat; the Wing Commander in the early hours of this morning, 13 April. His whereabouts are still unknown.

Mrs. Iqbal has been receiving phone calls from unidentified persons instructing her to stop contacting the media and particularly a foreign human rights organization (the AHRC). Mrs. Iqbal has tried to file a police complaint on the disappearance of her husband but the North Nazimabad Police refused to file the First Information report (FIR).

During the three years of litigation in the court and continuous threats from the Rangers she suffered two heart attacks but is still fighting for her legal rights. She is fighting the cases herself because she could not afford to pay for the lawyers and even then court entertained her complaints.

The Wing Commander took it as a personal affront when she refused his advances and started to tease her husband by sending him on late night duties. Mrs. Iqbal was devastated to the degree that she suffered a heart attack on 26 February 2009. No ambulance was provided by the Ranger’s Hospital as per the rules and regulations on the Wing Commander’s intervention. Finding no option her husband then shifted her to a nearby hospital through the local ambulance service and saved her life. Lieutenant Colonel Mehmood Shah was so vindictive that he awarded an adverse Annual Confidential Report (ACR) to SI Iqbal in December 2008 on the basis of which he was posted to Wing 32 at Kalapul; 30 kilometers away from his earlier official residence and he was forced to vacate the family accommodation at the time when doctors particularly advised him to live with his wife.

In his new wing her SI Iqbal applied for family accommodation to the Wing Commander of wing 32 Lieutenant Colonel Shoaib Aslm. The name of her husband was on the top of the accommodation list but he was denied accommodation against the rules and regulations. SI Iqbal was given a single room in the bachelor’s barrack and her wife and children were not allowed to stay with him. So in this way the victim; Mrs. Iqbal was further harassed as being in the same city, a wife and a husband were separated which is a fundamental human rights violation. The vindictive actions from Pakistan Rangers Officers have affected the education of her children who were studying in Rangers Public School at the time of her husband ‘s posting to 32-Wing when she was living in Rangers Complex at North Nazimabad, Karachi, Singh Province. The young ones could not continue their studies as they were compelled to live far away from their school in Sujani Town. An entire educational year was lost which aggravated and further multiplied the harassment for the victim.

While Mrs. Iqbal was residing alone with her children in Sujani Town, on two different occasions, armed men allegedly attacked and threatened her. She filed a FIR No. 225/2010 in Surjani Town Police Station on April 8, 2010. Brigadier Zafar Iqbal; Deputy Director General, Pakistan Rangers (Sindh), influenced and pressurized her to take back her police complaint (FIR) against the attackers. The Brigadier has also used one, Sub-Inspector Ashfaq of field security wing of Pakistan Rangers to harass her to withdraw the FIR on two occasions, but she refused. Then he used his powers and influence on the police department not to investigate the case. The police was also instructed not to take the statement. He is still sending his touts to harass Mrs. Iqbal and her family members, this harassment has increased that so much that it became an open threat to the life of the victim.

Eventually, on 5 April 2011 Mrs. Nasreen Iqbal lodged a Constitution Petition No. D-057/2011, under Article 199 of the Constitution of Pakistan against the officers of Pakistan Rangers.

During the court proceedings in the Sindh High Court an undertaking of Mr. Zia Arif Janjua, Law Officer of Pakistan Rangers was recorded on 29 April 2011, which was later converted as the Court Order on 12 Oct 2011. According to which:

1) The petitioner and her husband shall not be asked to vacate the official residence, allotted to and occupied by the petitioner and her family till such time the husband of the petitioner is entitled to such residence.
2) Absolutely no harassment shall be caused to petitioner and to any other member of her family by any functionary of Pakistan Rangers. She, and her family be allowed to live peacefully in the official residence without any interference.
3) No hurdle shall be created by any functionary of the Rangers in running of her School situated in Surjani Town, Karachi.
4) Filing of the instant petition and orders passed by the court shall not adversely prejudice the service matter/career progression of the petitioner’s husband.

As regards to Mrs. Iqbal’s apprehension that harm may be caused to her children or her reputation may be tarnished by Brigadier Zafar Iqbal, Colonel Mehmood Shah and Colonel Shoaib Aslam, it was decided that the Director General, Pakistan Rangers will hear the petitioner sympathetically on 13 Oct 2011 and will ensure all appropriate measures to allay her such apprehensions. But nothing has yet happened.

Despite of the clear directions by the High Court to the Rangers, the departmental authorities are still forcing and compelling SI Muhammad Iqbal to vacate the official residence allotted to him. Functionaries of Rangers are harassing to Mrs. Nasreen Iqbal, by sending different people to her residence at different times when her husband is away from home, under different pretexts.

On 15 Mar 2012 Mrs. Iqbal has lodged an application U/S 151 CPC against this open violation of court orders which is Contempt of Court. She demanded the court to direct the DG Rangers (Sindh) to allot the same residence for a further four years as the lives of the petitioner and her family members are in danger outside the Ranger’s Camp and to make null and void the impression of racial conspiracy and disparity with her husband.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

The Pakistan Rangers have been stationed in Karachi for almost 3 decades on the pretext of law and order. But after their deployment every year, the law and order situation has worsened. It is also alleged by the human rights and political groups that Pakistan rangers are running armed groups in the city to keep their existence. In many cases, the rangers were involved in extra judicial killings on the streets. Please see: AHRC-STM-076-2011

The Rangers personnel, whose families are from Punjab province are permitted and allowed to live with their families in Karachi for 3 to 4 years. But the victim who is the resident of Karachi is not permitted to live with her husband continuously. In the first house allotment the petitioner was allowed to live with her husband only for seven months, and in second allotment he was ordered to vacate the house only after three months by the verbal orders of Brigadier Zafar Iqbal. The high court has issued notices to Wing Commander Colonel Mehmood Shah and Shaib Aslam two times on November 12, 2010 and December 15, 2010 vide C. P. No. D-2959/2010, and two times notices again on April 8, 2011 and June 8, 2011 vide C. P. No. D-1057/2011.

Moreover Federal Services Tribunal (FST) has also issued notice to these army officers vide Appeal No. 35-K(CS)/2011 but they did not appear neither in front of the High Court. They are now held in contempt of court now and are not giving any importance to any level of the judiciary. They think themselves above the law being the army officers, whereas nobody is superior to law in any capacity, the law is equal for all the citizen of the country.


SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write letters to the below mentioned authorities calling for the safe recovery of SI Muhammad Iqbal husband of case petitioner Mrs. Nasreen Iqbal and for the prompt action against the higher officers (Perpetrators) of Pakistan Rangers who are harassing the wife of their subordinate officer violating the court orders. Please urge them to prosecute the accused officers against the harassment and force the rangers to follow the court order with immediate effects. Please also urge them to provide security to the victim and her family members particularly the children and also bring the Pakistan Rangers under the rule of law and constitution of Pakistan. I urge you to order the concerned authorities to abide by the orders of Sindh High Court and to allow the victim and her family to live peacefully in the official residence without any interference as per the direction of the court.

The AHRC is writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women calling for his intervention into this matter.

To support this appeal, please click here: 

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear ___________,

PAKISTAN: Officers of the Pakistan Rangers abduct a subordinate from a police station to settle his wife's court case of harassment against senior officers

Name of victims:
Sub-Inspector Muhammad Iqbal, resident of R.O. Quarter No. I-7, Rangers Complex, Block-A, North Nazimabad, Karachi, Pakistan
Mrs. Nasreen Iqbal wife of Sub-Inspector Muhammad Iqbal, resident of R.O. Quarter No. I-7, angers Complex, Block-A, North Nazimabad, Karachi, Pakistan

Names of alleged perpetrators:
1- Federation of Pakistan through Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Islamabad, Pakistan
2- Director General, Pakistan Rangers (Sindh) Head Quarters, Jinnah Courts, Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan
3- Deputy Director General, BrigadierZafar Iqbal, Pakistan Rangers (Sindh) Head Quarters, Jinnah Courts, Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan
4- Colonel Mehmood Shah, A. Q. A. K. Regimental Centre, Maneer Camp, Attock, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Pakistan
5- Colonel Shoaib Aslam, 15 Div. Sialkot Cantt, Punjab, Pakistan
6- Colonel Ishrat, Wing Commander, Sachal Sarmast Wing, Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan
Date of Incident: December 2008
Place of Incident: Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the sexual harassment of a Ranger Officer to the wife of a subordinate and the subsequent abduction and disappearance of her husband.

I am shocked to learn that the Pakistan rangers stationed at Karachi have no sanctity for the law and have misused their power even up to the extent of taking revenge from their subordinate only on the ground that his wife should have sexual relations with them.

I have also been informed that it is becoming a very common practice in the Pakistan Rangers that they encourage their subordinates to offer their women so satisfy their lust.

It is of serious concern to me that the persons from the Intelligence Agency of the Pakistan rangers have abducted and disappeared their subordinate in an effort to pressurize him to urge his wife to withdraw the cases against them in Sindh High Court.

According to the information I received, Mrs. Nasreen Iqbal, the wife of Sub-Inspector Muhammad Iqbal (SI) of the Pakistan Rangers, was a teacher and running a school with the name Excellence Grammar in Sector No. 6, Surjani Town Karachi, Sindh Province. Her husband has been in the Pakistan Rangers (Sindh) for almost nine years. In 2008 he was posted to Karachi and applied for family accommodation which was allotted in November 2008.

I was informed that Wing Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Mehmood Shah was the former Commander of Wing-60 at Baldia Town, Karachi, where the harassment was initiated. The Commander started to sexually harass Mrs. Nasreen Iqbal by calling her on her phone at different times and frequently in the late evening. SI Iqbal, on many occasions requested him to cease this unacceptable behaviour but the Wing Commander further victimized Mrs Iqbal by transferring her husband from one area to another and throwing the family out of the official residence. After finding no option she filed cases in the High Court for remedy. During the court proceedings it was observed that the court would deliver decisions in her favour and provided her relief from the harassment.

The situation reached saturation point for the Rangers and they decided to teach her and her family a lesson. Yesterday, (12 April) some officials from the Rangers abducted and blindfolded SI Iqbal near Aisha Manzil, F. B. Area, Karachi and took him to unknown location. However, at a traffic Jam he managed to escape. The men followed him and then again after two hours nabbed him with the help of police and locked him up in the North Nazimabad Police Station. During the night he was moved to two different stations of North Nazimabad and Jamshed Quarter and was tortured in order to force him to get his wife to withdraw the of cases. When he refused to do this he was again abducted by 12 armed officials of the Intelligence Wing lead by Lieutenant Colonel Ishrat; the Wing Commander in the early hours of this morning, 13 April. His whereabouts are still unknown.

I am appalled that while Mrs. Iqbal was residing alone with her children in Sujani Town, on two different occasions, armed men allegedly attacked and threatened her. She filed a FIR No. 225/2010 in Surjani Town Police Station on April 8, 2010. Brigadier Zafar Iqbal; Deputy Director General, Pakistan Rangers (Sindh), influenced and pressurized her to take back her police complaint (FIR) against the attackers. The Brigadier has also used one, Sub-Inspector Ashfaq of field security wing of Pakistan Rangers to harass her to withdraw the FIR on two occasions, but she refused. Then he used his powers and influence on the police department not to investigate the case. The police was also instructed not to take the statement. He is still sending his touts to harass Mrs. Iqbal and her family members, this harassment has increased that so much that it became an open threat to the life of the victim.

I therefore request you to ensure the safe recovery of SI Muhammad Iqbal husband of case petitioner Mrs. Nasreen Iqbal and for prompt action against the higher officers (perpetrators) of the Pakistan Rangers who are harassing the wife of their subordinate officer in violation of the court orders. I urge you to prosecute the accused officers on the charges of abduction, disappearance and sexual harassment and force the Rangers to follow the court order with immediate effect. Please also provide security to the victim and her family members particularly the children and also bring the Pakistan Rangers under the rule of law and Constitution of Pakistan. I also urge you to order the concerned authorities to abide by the orders of Sindh High Court and to allow the victim and her family to live peacefully in the official residence without any interference as per the direction of the court.

Yours sincerely,

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PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

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

2. Mr. Yousuf Raza Gillani,
Prime Minister
Prime Minister House
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 51 922 1596
Tel: +92 51 920 6111
E-mail: secretary@cabinet.gov.pk

3. 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

4. Dr. Faqir Hussain
Registrar
Supreme Court of Pakistan
Constitution Avenue, Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: + 92 51 9213452
E-mail: mail@supremecourt.gov.pk

5. Mr. Rehman Malik
Minister for Interior
R Block Pak Secretariat
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Tel: +92 51 9212026 +92 51 9212026
Fax: +92 51 9202624
E-mail: ministry.interior@gmail.com or interior.complaintcell@gmail.com

6. Dr. Ishrat-ul-Ebad Khan
Governor of Sindh province
Karachi, Sindh Province
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 21 920 5043
Tel: +92 21 920 1201 +92 21 920 1201 +92 21 920 1201 +92 21 920 1201
E-mail: governor@governorsindh.gov.pk

7. Syed Qaim Ali Shah
Chief Minister
Karachi, Sindh Province
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 21 920 2000
Email: pressecy@cmsindh.gov.pk

8. Mr. Justice Musheer Alam
The Chief Justice of Sindh High Court
High Court Building
Saddar, Karachi
Sindh Province
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 21 9213220
E-mail: registrar@sindhhighcourt.gov.pk

9. Ms. Nadia Gabol
Minister for Human Rights
Government of Sindh,
Pakistan secretariat, Barrack 92,
Karachi, Sindh Province
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 21 9207044
Tel: +92 21 9207043 +92 21 9207043 +92 21 9207043 +92 21 9207043
E-mail: lukshmil@yahoo.com

 

Thank you.

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

Document Type :
Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID :
AHRC-UAC-060-2012
Countries :
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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.