Urgent Appeal Document is Attached.




PAK 001 / 1107 / OBS 136

House arrests / Arrest warrant / Arbitrary detentions /

Judicial proceedings / Harassment


November 5, 2007


The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Pakistan.


Brief description of the situation:


The Observatory has been informed by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) about the arbitrary house arrest of Ms. Asma Jahangir, HRCP Chairperson, human rights lawyer and United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, as well as the arrest warrant issued against Ms. Hina Jilani, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for Human Rights Defenders.


According to the information received, in a context where the President Musharraf has imposed a state of emergency in Pakistan, suspended the constitution, dismissed the Chief Justice and arrested leading lawyers, Ms. Asma Jahangir was put under house arrest late on November 3, 2007, under a 90 days preventive detention order (SO (IS-I)3 – 24 / 200), issued by the Home Department of the Government of Punjab and reportedly to prevent her making “inflammatory speeches”.


The Observatory was further informed that a house arrest warrant for a period of 90 days has been issued against Ms. Hina Jilani, who is expected to be detained by the police when she returns from overseas.


On November 4, 2007, the police raided the office of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan situated at Tipu Block, New Garden Town in Lahore and arrested 55 of its members[1][1]. Charged with holding “illegal assembly” and interfering with public officers under the Criminal Procedure Code, they were taken into preventive detention under Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance and remanded to the Kot Lakhpat Jail Lahore.


Messrs. Syed Igbal Haider and I. A. Rehman, respectively HRCP Secretary General and Executive Director, were also among those arrested and were then placed under house arrest.


On November 5, 2007, Messrs. Igbal Haider and I. A. Rehman, along with the other HRCP members who had been arrested on the day before, appeared before a judge and were sent to the Kot Lakhpat Jail Lahore till the next hearing, on November 6, 2007.


The Observatory expresses its deepest concern regarding these arbitrary arrests, as they seem to merely aim at sanctioning the mentioned defenders’ human rights activities and strongly condemns these serious violations of fundamental rights and international human rights law.


The Observatory further recalls that, as member of the Human Rights Council, Pakistan is committed to “uphold the highest standards of promotion and protection of human rights”[2][2], and therefore urges the Pakistani authorities put an end to any kind of harassment against all human rights defenders in Pakistan.


Actions requested :


Please write to the authorities of Pakistan urging them to :


i.                     Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Asma Jahangir, Ms. Hina Jilani, Mr. Igbal Haider and Mr. I.A Rehman as well as of all HRCP members currently detained or under house arrest;


ii.                   Put an end to the house arrest of Ms. Asma Jahangir and release immediately and unconditionally Mr. Igbal Haider, Mr. I.A Rehman as well as all other HRCP members who are currently detained, since their detention is arbitrary as it merely aims at sanctioning their human rights activities;


iii.                  Cancel the warrant of arrest issued against Ms. Hina Jilani as it seems to merely aim at sanctioning her human rights activities;


iv.                 Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against all human rights defenders in Pakistan;


v.                   Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially its article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels” and article 6, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others: to know, seek, obtain, receive and hold information about all human rights and fundamental freedoms (...), freely to publish, impart or disseminate to others views, information and knowledge on all human rights and fundamental freedoms and to study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance (...) of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters”.


vi.                 Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Pakistan.




·         General Pervez Musharraf, President, Pakistan Secretariat, Islamabad, PAKISTAN, Fax: +92 51 922 4768/ 920 1893 or 1835

·         Mian Kurshid Mahmud Kasuri, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad, PAKISTAN, Tel: +92 51 92 10 335, Fax: +92 51 920 7600

·         Ghulam Safdar, Joint Secretary for Law, Justice and Human Rights, Islamabad, PAKISTAN, Tel: +92 51 921 1278, Fax: +92 51 920 1631

·         Ambassador Masood Khan, Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations in Geneva, Rue de Moillebeau 56, Case postale 434, 1211 Geneva 19, Switzerland, E-mail: mission.pakistan@ties.itu.int, Fax: +41 22 734 80 85

·         Embassy of Pakistan to the EU in Brussels, 57 avenue Delleur, 1170 Watermael-Boitsfort, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 675 83 84, Email: parepbrussels@belgacom.be



Paris-Geneva, November 5, 2007


Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply. 


The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need. The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic.


To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org

Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29



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[1][1] These 55 human rights activists (31 male and 24 female) included Ms. Shahtaj Qazalbash, Mr. Mehboob Khan, Mr. Nadeem Anthony, Ms. Saleema Hashmi, Ms. Rubina Saigol, Ms. Samina Rehman, Brig. Rao Abid Hameed, Mr. Faisal Akhtar, Mr. Waseem Majeed Malik, Mr. Irfan Barket, Dr. Naseem Ali, Dr. Khurram Iftikhar, Dr. Yousaf Yaseen, Mr. Irshad Choudhry, Imran Qureshi, Shams Mahmood, Zaffar ul Hassan, Khalid Mehmood, Bilal Hassan Minto, Muhammad Bashir, Ali Cheema, Shahid Hafeez, Syed Mozam Ali Shah, Mansoor Ali Shah, Shahzeb Masood, Javed Amin, Suleman Akram, Muhammad Bilal Sabir, Shahid Amin, Khawaja Amjad Hussain, Mahmood Ahmed, Rahim ul Haq, Ashtar Ausaf Ali, Alia Ali, Samia Ali, Azhra Irshad, Jona Anderyas, Ayra Anderyas, Zeba, Neelam Hussain, Gulnar, Sonobar, Sadaf Chughtai, Nasreen Shah, Shaista Parvaiz Malik, Iram Sharif, Amina Sharif, Taina Sabah ud Din, Tamkant Karim, Lala Raukh, Huma Shah, Nasreen Shah, Samia Ameen Khawaja.

[2][2]   See OP 9 of General Assembly resolution A/RES/60/251.