PAKISTAN: Security Agencies target Sindhi Nationalists

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-068-2015
ISSUES: Arbitrary arrest & detention, Enforced disappearances and abductions, Impunity, Military, Right to life, Rule of law, Torture,

Dear Friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the abduction of Raja Dahir, the son of a prominent intellectual and the writer, from his home by uniformed Pakistan Ranger personnel and those wearing civilian clothes who identified themselves as State intelligence agents. Following Dahir’s abduction, his whereabouts are unknown. Mr. Raja Dahir is the joint secretary of a nationalist organisation, Jeay Sindh Mutehda Mahaz (JSMM). 

The police has refused to file a case of abduction and disappearance as the abductors are a part of the security establishment. The reason of Dahir’s arrest and disappearance is still not known. However, a ranking police officer has confided that a bomb was planted at a railway line, so Dahir might have been arrested for a related interrogation. According to the Sindh provincial police, in cases of bombings or terrorist cases, Military agencies take action directly without informing the police. 

The Rangers have also abducted three more young persons from different parts of Sindh in connection with a bomb planted on a Railway line two days before Dahir’s arrest.

CASE NARRATIVE:

Mr. Raja Dahir, 40, son of Mr. Ata Mohammad Bhambhro, a prominent writer and historian of the country, has been missing since 4 June 2015 and his whereabouts are yet nknown. Pakistan Rangers and intelligence officials reached the Village Bachal Bhanbro, near Rasool Abad, District Khairpur, Sindh Province in more than 50 armed vehicles. 

They started searching the houses in the Village and finally raided the house of Mr. Bhambhro and overpowered all the family members on gunpoint. They took Raja Dahir in custody. The officials, after arresting Raja, immediately put a black piece of cloth on his face, in front of family members, and drove Dahir to an unknown place. According to the local newspapers, the raiding party consisted of 400 officials. Since then, Dahir’s whereabouts are unknown.

Raja Dahir, the missing person, is a professional Geologist. He did his Master’s degree from Sindh University of Technology. He is also the Joint Secretary of a nationalist party, Jeay Sindh Mutehda Mahaz (JSMM). The organisation is reeling from a crackdown by the Pakistani State; 40 members of JSMM have turned up dead following their illegal detention. 

Dahir’s father, Ata Bhabhro, while addressing a press conference, said that his son was, of course, a political worker, but was never involved in any terrorist activities. He says the rulers of Punjab Province want to grab Sindh to usurp the natural resources of the Province and that is why Punjabi Military is conducting crackdown on Sindhi youth. 

Mr. Ata Mohammad Bhambhro, who is over 80 years old and a writer of 40 books tried to report the case of illegal arrest at a local police station but the police refused to file a report, stating that the person was arrested by Pakistan Rangers and men from intelligence agencies. The policemen argued that they do not have jurisdiction with regard to military action. 

However, the Superintendent of Police, District Khairpur, told the media men that the father of the missing person has not contacted the police. He further said that Raja Dahir might have been arrested in connection to a case where a bomb was planted at the main railway line at Setharja Town, which is close by to Khairpur, but that he could not confirm the same. 

Mr. Ata Bhambhro, speaking to BBC Urdu, has said that if his son is involved in any criminal activity he must be brought before the law, rather than be kept incommunicado. He fears that his son might be killed during torture in military custody and that one day his mutilated body will be thrown on the road side as it has been the practice of State agencies for years. 

According to the BBC Urdu, and different newspapers and electronic channels, in the days before Raja Dahir’s disappearance, three other nationalists from the JSSM were arrested and disappeared by the Rangers, the police, and men from State intelligence agencies. 

Policemen, Rangers, and some Agency personnel (dressed in civilian clothes) abducted Mr. Irfan Jamali on 2 June 2015, while he was travelling from Karachi to Hyderabad. He is a political activist and worker of Sindhi Nationalist Organisation JSMM. 

Jamshed, alias Jimmi Tunio, a student of Sindh University study 2nd year B.S English Literature has been missing from June 3. His parents witnessed his abduction. He was taken in a Police/Rangers’ raid, which also had with some agency cops (dressed in civilian clothes) from their home in Hyderabad. Jimmi is a political activist and worker of the Sindhi Nationalist Organisation JSMM. He was not wanted in any of the police cases previously and his whereabouts are still unknown.

The Rangers and the police abducted Mr. Qadir Bux Shar, 50, raiding his residence on June 4 and since then he is missing. He is the uncle of Sajjad Shar, the General Secretary of JSSM. Shar’s cousin, Mr. Nisar Shar has also been arrested and has been missing since the end of May. The intelligence agencies are apparently raiding different places to arrest of Sajjad Shar. 

JSSM had announced the launch of a movement from August 14 onward. It appears the security establishment is attempting to stop this movement from taking place. 

Besides the mentioned disappearances, Kamlesh Kumar is missing since 26 November 2014. Kamlesh Kumar, son of Sajan Meghwar, resident of Village Gunwahr, Taluka Islamkot, District Tharparkar, is a student of Mehran University of Engineering and Technology. Unknown persons abducted him from Jamshoro Society Phase-2 on 26 November 2014. 

According to the friends of Kamlesh who were present at the time of incident, “It was 26th November 2014 when he was standing at a Photostat shop in Jamshoro Society Phase-2, purchasing notes as it was his exam that day, suddenly a white Corolla with no: plate SP-0707 arrived, two unknown people in civil dress came out and abducted Kamlesh”. 

Kamlesh belongs to a poor family from Tharparkar. His father is a primary school teacher. The day Kamlesh was abducted was the day of the marriage ceremony of his elder brother Sunil Sangi. It is claimed by the JSMM that Kamlesh was abducted by persons from intelligence agencies as he is Hindu by faith. The government wanted to implicate JSMM and its workers as the India’s RAW agents.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

According to the Constitution of Pakistan, Article 9, “No person shall be deprived of life or liberty save in accordance with law”. Furthermore, Article 10 states the following:

“Sub article (a) No person who is arrested shall be detained in custody without being informed, as soon as may be, of the grounds for such arrest, nor shall he be denied the right to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice. Sub article (b) says that every person who is arrested and detained in custody shall be produced before a magistrate within a period of twenty-four hours of such arrest, excluding the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the court of the nearest magistrate, and no such person shall be detained in: custody beyond the said period without the authority of a magistrate.”

Pakistan has ratified the UN ICCPR and under this ratification it is mandatory for the State party to follow it. According to the Article 9 of the ICCPR, Pakistan recognizes the rights to liberty and security of the person. It prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, requires any deprivation of liberty to be according to law, and obliges parties to allow those deprived of their liberty to challenge their imprisonment through the courts. These provisions apply not just to those imprisoned as part of the criminal process, but also to those detained due to mental illness, drug addiction, or for educational or immigration purposes.

Articles 9.3 and 9.4 impose procedural safeguards surrounding arrest, requiring anyone arrested to be promptly informed of the charges against them, and to be brought promptly before a judge. It also restricts the use of pre-trial detention, requiring it to be imposed only in exceptional circumstances and for as short a period of time as possible. 

SUGGESTED ACTION:

Please write the letters to the following authorities calling them to immediate release Raja Dahir and four other persons linked to JSSM who have been abducted by the Rangers and persons from intelligence agencies. Please also urge them to: 

•    Stop the law enforcement agencies, including the intelligence agencies, from abducting the political workers and keeping them in incommunicado; 

•    Help safely recover the persons missing following arrest and save them from torture for getting confessional statements, as this is practiced during the illegal custody;

•    Try any alleged suspects of crime before a court of law; 

•    Prosecute officials who abducted citizens for violation of the Constitution and the ICCPR

The AHRC is writing a separate letter to the Chairperson of the UN Working Group Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) calling for his intervention into this matter.

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

SAMPLE LETTER

Dear ……………….., PAKISTAN: Security Agencies target Sindhi Nationalists Name of victim: 1. Mr. Raja Dahir 40, son of Mr. Ata Mohammad Bhambhro, resident of Village Bachal Bhanbro near Rasool Abad, District Khairpur, Sindh Province 2. Mr. Irfan Jamali, student, resident of Hyderbad, Sindh Province 3. Mr. Jamshed, alias Jimmi Tunio, student of Sindh University of 2nd year B.S English Literature, Jam Shoro, Sindh Province 4. Mr. Qadir Bux Shar, 50, resident of Hyderabad, Sindh Province 5. Kamlesh, son of Sajan Meghwar, resident of Village Gunwahr, Taluka Islamkot, District Tharparkar, student of Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, Sindh  Alleged perpetrators: 1. Pakistan Rangers, stationed at Sindh 2. State intelligence agencies  Date of incident: June 2015 Place of incident: Sindh Province I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding abduction and disappearances of political workers from Sindh and keeping them incommunicado to get confessional statements through torture.  I am shocked to know that in the presence of civilian setup and democracy Mr. Raja Dahir, 40, son of Mr. Ata Mohammad Bhambhro, a prominent writer and historian of the country, has been missing since 4 June 2015 and his whereabouts are yet nknown. Pakistan Rangers and intelligence officials reached the Village Bachal Bhanbro, near Rasool Abad, District Khairpur, Sindh Province in more than 50 armed vehicles.  They started searching the houses in the Village and finally raided the house of Mr. Bhambhro and overpowered all the family members on gunpoint. They took Raja Dahir in custody. The officials, after arresting Raja, immediately put a black piece of cloth on his face, in front of family members, and drove Dahir to an unknown place. According to the local newspapers, the raiding party consisted of 400 officials. Since then, Dahir's whereabouts are unknown. I was informed that Raja Dahir, the missing person, is a professional Geologist. He did his Master's degree from Sindh University of Technology. He is also the Joint Secretary of a nationalist party, Jeay Sindh Mutehda Mahaz (JSMM). The organisation is reeling from a crackdown by the Pakistani State; 40 members of JSMM have turned up dead following their illegal detention.  Dahir's father, Ata Bhabhro, while addressing a press conference, said that his son was, of course, a political worker, but was never involved in any terrorist activities. He says the rulers of Punjab Province want to grab Sindh to usurp the natural resources of the Province and that is why Punjabi Military is conducting crackdown on Sindhi youth.  Mr. Ata Mohammad Bhambhro, who is over 80 years old and a writer of 40 books tried to report the case of illegal arrest at a local police station but the police refused to file a report, stating that the person was arrested by Pakistan Rangers and men from intelligence agencies. The policemen argued that they do not have jurisdiction with regard to military action.  However, the Superintendent of Police, District Khairpur, told the media men that the father of the missing person has not contacted the police. He further said that Raja Dahir might have been arrested in connection to a case where a bomb was planted at the main railway line at Setharja Town, which is close by to Khairpur, but that he could not confirm the same.  Mr. Ata Bhambhro, speaking to BBC Urdu, has said that if his son is involved in any criminal activity he must be brought before the law, rather than be kept incommunicado. He fears that his son might be killed during torture in military custody and that one day his mutilated body will be thrown on the road side as it has been the practice of State agencies for years.  According to the BBC Urdu, and different newspapers and electronic channels, in the days before Raja Dahir's disappearance, three other nationalists from the JSSM were arrested and disappeared by the Rangers, the police, and men from State intelligence agencies.  Policemen, Rangers, and some Agency personnel (dressed in civilian clothes) abducted Mr. Irfan Jamali on 2 June 2015, while he was travelling from Karachi to Hyderabad. He is a political activist and worker of Sindhi Nationalist Organisation JSMM.  Jamshed, alias Jimmi Tunio, a student of Sindh University study 2nd year B.S English Literature has been missing from June 3. His parents witnessed his abduction. He was taken in a Police/Rangers' raid, which also had with some agency cops (dressed in civilian clothes) from their home in Hyderabad. Jimmi is a political activist and worker of the Sindhi Nationalist Organisation JSMM. He was not wanted in any of the police cases previously and his whereabouts are still unknown. The Rangers and the police abducted Mr. Qadir Bux Shar, 50, raiding his residence on June 4 and since then he is missing. He is the uncle of Sajjad Shar, the General Secretary of JSSM. Shar's cousin, Mr. Nisar Shar has also been arrested and has been missing since the end of May. The intelligence agencies are apparently raiding different places to arrest of Sajjad Shar.  JSSM had announced the launch of a movement from August 14 onward. It appears the security establishment is attempting to stop this movement from taking place.  Besides the mentioned disappearances, Kamlesh Kumar is missing since 26 November 2014. Kamlesh Kumar, son of Sajan Meghwar, resident of Village Gunwahr, Taluka Islamkot, District Tharparkar, is a student of Mehran University of Engineering and Technology. Unknown persons abducted him from Jamshoro Society Phase-2 on 26 November 2014.  According to the friends of Kamlesh who were present at the time of incident, "It was 26th November 2014 when he was standing at a Photostat shop in Jamshoro Society Phase-2, purchasing notes as it was his exam that day, suddenly a white Corolla with no: plate SP-0707 arrived, two unknown people in civil dress came out and abducted Kamlesh".  Kamlesh belongs to a poor family from Tharparkar. His father is a primary school teacher. The day Kamlesh was abducted was the day of the marriage ceremony of his elder brother Sunil Sangi. It is claimed by the JSMM that Kamlesh was abducted by persons from intelligence agencies as he is Hindu by faith. The government wanted to implicate JSMM and its workers as the India's RAW agents. According to the Constitution of Pakistan, Article 9, "No person shall be deprived of life or liberty save in accordance with law". Furthermore, Article 10 states the following: "Sub article (a) No person who is arrested shall be detained in custody without being informed, as soon as may be, of the grounds for such arrest, nor shall he be denied the right to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice. Sub article (b) says that every person who is arrested and detained in custody shall be produced before a magistrate within a period of twenty-four hours of such arrest, excluding the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the court of the nearest magistrate, and no such person shall be detained in: custody beyond the said period without the authority of a magistrate." Pakistan has ratified the UN ICCPR and under this ratification it is mandatory for the State party to follow it. According to the Article 9 of the ICCPR, Pakistan recognizes the rights to liberty and security of the person. It prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, requires any deprivation of liberty to be according to law, and obliges parties to allow those deprived of their liberty to challenge their imprisonment through the courts. These provisions apply not just to those imprisoned as part of the criminal process, but also to those detained due to mental illness, drug addiction, or for educational or immigration purposes. Articles 9.3 and 9.4 impose procedural safeguards surrounding arrest, requiring anyone arrested to be promptly informed of the charges against them, and to be brought promptly before a judge. It also restricts the use of pre-trial detention, requiring it to be imposed only in exceptional circumstances and for as short a period of time as possible.  I, therefore, call upon you to immediate release Raja Dahir and four other persons linked to JSSM who have been abducted by the Rangers and persons from intelligence agencies. I also urge you to:  •    Stop the law enforcement agencies, including the intelligence agencies, from abducting the political workers and keeping them in incommunicado;  •    Help safely recover the persons missing following arrest and save them from torture for getting confessional statements, as this is practiced during the illegal custody; •    Try any alleged suspects of crime before a court of law;  •    Prosecute officials who abducted citizens for violation of the Constitution and the ICCPR I hope that you will take immediate action of the issue. Yours sincerely, ………………. PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO: 1. Mr. Mian Nawaz Sharif Prime Minister Prime Minister House Islamabad PAKISTAN Fax: +92 51 922 1596 Tel: +92 51 920 6111, +92 51 920 6111 E-mail: secretary@cabinet.gov.pk, pspm@pmsectt.gov.pk 2. Mr. Syed Qaim 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. Pervez Rashid  Minister Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights of Pakistan Old US Aid building Ata Turk Avenue G-5, Islamabad PAKISTAN Fax: +92 51 9204108 Email: contact@molaw.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 Thank you. Urgent Appeals Programme  Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)