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Another Hindu trader, Ravi Kumar, abducted


Is there an end to bad news, I am afraid no. Another kidnapping took place in Quetta, Balochistan, on October 21. Ravi Kumar, a Hindu trader S/O Kalian Dass (Former President Hindu Panchiayat) was abducted from Truck Adda, Sirki Road, in Quetta at 9.30 am, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) reported. His family told HRCP that Kumar was getting things loaded into trucks at Truck Adda, when unknown armed men came there in a Corolla car  and pushed him at gun point into the vehicle and fled away.

First Information Report (FIR) was lodged with Satellite Town Police Station, Quetta. so far, the family has not heard from his abductors. No demand has been made by them to help ascertain the reason behind his kidnapping. The record shows that Hindu traders have been kidnapped for ransom from Sindh and Balochistan in the past.

The organisations involved in the series of kidnappings clearly have a motive known to us by now. The ransom money goes straight into the promotion of their cause or help them buying weapons to fight a ‘holy war’. The powerless law enforcing agencies constantly work to minimise the chances of such organisation to harm them or their families leaving public at the mercy of God. In this case, too, no one will ever be arrested, or the money for ransom, (if and whenever asked) will be given to save Kumar’s life.

HRCP has requested to take following actions:

Please write to the authorities in Pakistan urging them:

  1. To take appropriate steps for the immediate recovery of Mr. Ravi Kumar
  2. To make sure that he is not harmed during captivity
  3. To take appropriate measures for the security of the other family members of Mr. Ravi Kumar
  4. To stop the kidnapping of Hindu traders

It would be appreciated if you send a copy of your letter to HRCP/Urgent Appeal (Zaman Khan)

Address:

Mr. Asif Ali Zardari

President of Pakistan

President’s Secretariat

Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 51 922 1422, 4768/ 920 1893 or 1835

Email: publicmail@president.gov.pk

Syed Yusuf 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

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: sarfraz_yousuf@ yahoo.com

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

Mr. Rehman Malik

Minister for Interior

R Block Pak Secretariat

Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Tel: +92 51 9212026

Fax: +92 51 9202624

E-mail: ministry.inrior@ gmail.com or interior.complaintcell@gmail. com
Sardar Zulifqar Magsi
Governor of Balochistan

Governor House
Quetta, Balochistan

PAKISTAN

Phone : +92 81 9202171-77
Fax. : +92 81 9202178
Email:
governor.sectt@ balochistan.gov. pk

 

 

Nawab Aslam Raisani

Chief Minister of Balochistan

C. M. Secretariat

Quetta, Balochistan

Pakistan

Phone: +92 81 9202061

Fax: +92 81 9202280

Email. chiefminister@balochistan.gov.pk
Chief Secretary

 Government of Balochistan

Civil Secretariat,

Quetta, Balochistan
PAKISTAN

Phone:             +92 81 9201154      
Fax: +92 81 9201167
E-mail:
chiefsecy@balochistan. gov.pk

 

Provincial Police Officer

 Government of Balochistan

Civil Secretariat, Quetta, Balochistan
PAKISTAN

Phone:             +92 81 9201262      
Fax: +92 81 9201267
E-mail:
ppo@balochistan. gov.pk

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2011 in Hindus

 

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Discussion on Attacks on journalists and Media Freedom


Participants:  Imtiaz Alam, Khaled Ahmed, and Sadaf Arshad

 

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2011 in Media

 

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Justice for Mukhtaran Mai


PAKISTAN: Mukhtaran Mai and the miscarriage of justice

Daily Times: Dr Haider Shah

In Pakistan, our social norms are of tribal and feudal times but our laws are based on the British legal system. No attempt has been made by our jurists and legislators to address the discord between the laws and social reality.

The Supreme Court (SC) judgment in the world famous Mukhtaran Mai case has come as a shock to all those who had conveniently believed that the restoration of the judiciary alone would result in the supremacy of law in Pakistan. Unlike many others, I do not, however, cast any aspersion on the judiciary for acquitting the accused. The honourable SC decided the case on the basis of the evidence made available to it. We are disappointed with the outcome but it would be equally disturbing if we expect the courts to decide cases on the basis of popular perceptions alone. Let us admit that the court’s verdict was not about an insignificant woman from rural Punjab. In reality, it was an indictment of the whole society. While the accused walk free, all of Pakistani society, with its norms and values, stands embarrassingly naked in the full glare of the international community.

For me, the Mukhtaran Mai case is yet another case of ‘miscarriage of justice’. This phrase is ordinarily used to refer to cases where the accused are wrongfully punished. It is, however, also used to mean the reverse, i.e. ‘errors of impunity’ situations in which victims fail to get justice and perpetrators of the crime go scot-free. In published literature, miscarriage is often attributed to the systemic bias in the judicial system. For instance, in many miscarriage cases involving black people, the racist bias of white judges has been cited as the influential factor. Recently, some feminist scholars in the UK have opined that the gender makeup of the judiciary is also a potential source of bias. To me, this is a very restricted notion of miscarriage as bias creeps into the judicial system from socio-religious channels as well. In Pakistan, we have many examples where the miscarriage of justice has occurred due to the religious views of the judges or the external pressure on them.

When societies are faced with extraordinary situations they respond by both legislative and capacity building measures. For instance, when the US and the UK were hit by terrorist attacks they responded by special anti-terrorism laws that, besides other things, also enhanced the detention powers of police. They also came up with a new doctrine, i.e. ‘high policing’, where the police are actively engaged in intelligence gathering and dismantling operations against prospective terrorists. In Pakistan, our social norms are of tribal and feudal times but our laws are based on the British legal system. No attempt has been made by our jurists and legislators to address the discord between the laws and social reality. The panchayat and other tribal and feudal modes of parallel justice systems exist and operate in our country in violation of our constitution. Except paying lip service, what have we done to dismantle them so far?

Our laws are made for a society that is based on the rule of law and where individualism reigns supreme. Since that society is non-existent, our whole legal edifice is working on a fictitious basis with disturbing consequences. The law declares that sanctity of life is guaranteed under Article 9 of the constitution. Mr Israrullah Zehri, however, thunders on the floor of the Senate that killing women in family honour cases is part of their tribal culture. He is then rewarded with a ministry by the government that champions equal rights for women. When a lady doctor is raped in Balochistan, the whole establishment gears up to silence the murmuring voices of anguish. In such a society, why do we expect that the courts will fight the battle for us on all fronts while we complacently sit idle? When a foreign murderer walked free under the law of diyat, we spouted all anger over the court and government. We have developed a habit of remaining inert and accepting a legal structure and then fuming when the inadequacies of the system become apparent.

The Mukhtaran Mai case may prove to be a blessing in disguise if it arouses our slumbering national conscience. In India, the Jessica Lall case shocked the nation when a young barmaid was shot dead at a party and the killer walked free as nobody came forward with evidence. Indian civil society rose to the occasion and galvanised a strong public opinion, which resulted in the conviction of the murderer. The Mukhtaran Mai case emphasises the need for revamping our criminal justice system. Laws addressing the ground realities, an informed community, a capable police system and a sound independent judiciary are the four pillars of a good justice system. On the legislation side, new evidence laws need to be framed in cases of crimes against women and terrorist activities. The anti-terrorism laws need further strengthening via consultation with field officers. The police need to enhance their capacity by making advances in the field of forensic investigation.

The role of the media in cases like Mukhtaran Mai leaves much to be desired. In the western media, investigative reporters often carry out sting operations exposing perpetrators of crime and fraud. Our media persons devote most of their time and energy on easily acquired juicy stories about politicians. They could have helped the case of Mukhtaran Mai if they had professionally conducted an investigative operation and unearthed the whole facts. They only burst into national hysteria if the accused happens to be a foreigner. They need to realise that society suffers more if the rule of law is breached by locals with impunity.

In the famous Indian movie ‘Damini’, a macho hero, Sunny Deol, rescues the hapless woman who challenged the tyranny of a rotten evidence based criminal justice system. In the real world, unfortunately no such heroes would appear. Our Daminis, Mukhtarans and Shazias will have to wait till society itself turns heroic and decides to rescue them.

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Is this kidnapping for ransom?


The recent kidnapping of a Hindu spiritual leader, Lakki Chand Garji, who happens to be the ‘maharaja’ of the Kali Mata Mandir’  has shocked many. It was first solely read as an attempt to target the Hindus here in Pakistan, and for obvious reasons including the conditions under which they live in this country. Pakistan is not the best place for minorities to live and the strong wave of extremism has given this belief another boost. But considering Balochistan complex situation, I would rather like to keep other options in mind too, not just a simple attack on Hindus. Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani, Chief Minister of Balochistan, has already pointed out that the kidnapping is for ransom and that is the option we cannot rule out.

Minorities could be an easy and strong target at the same time for ransom and especially when it is about the life of their spiritual leader. The kidnappers always get their message through easily when it is someone from minorities because of the concerns of minorities and human rights groups . The protests triggered by the kidnapping has attracted the CM attention who has directed the law enforcing agencies to ensure his safe release.

Kidnapping-for-ransom incidents have been on the rise in Balochistan except target killing. The kidnappers manage to whisk away in broad daylight and sometimes and eventually the families of victims  have to pay huge amounts to secure their release. The law enforcing agencies could not succeed in ensuring the release of those kidnapped in at least two cases that I have known. A renowned businessman Ahmed Ali Hazara was abducted from Gordath Singh Road in February 2009,  who was released after his family paid huge amount. Similarly, a senior advocate of Balochistan High Court Iftikharul Haq was abducted close to his house at Doctor Bano Road in March 2009, but despite a suo moto notice and protests by lawyers, his family ended up paying a handsome amount to his kidnappers. The police, unfortunately, could not be of any good in these cases.

If Lakki Chand Garji’s case, it may happen again…

Below is the story:

Islamabad, Dec 23 (IANS) A leading Hindu spiritual leader of Pakistan was kidnapped at gunpoint in Balochistan province while he was on his way to officiate a wedding.

Eightytwo-year-old Lakki Chand Garji, who is the `maharaja’ of the Kali Mata Mandir in Kalat town, is considered to be one of Pakistan’s most revered Hindu spiritual leaders. He was kidnapped Tuesday night, the Express Tribune reported Thursday.

As the news of his abduction spread, hundreds of Hindu community members blocked the key highway that links Karachi and Quetta, bringing traffic to a halt for several hours.

Hindus demanded that the government secure the immediate release of their spiritual leader. Garji along with five people was travelling from Kalat town to Khuzdar to attend a marriage ceremony.

The media report said that he was intercepted by armed men who kidnapped him. The people accompanying him were later released. ‘A vehicle was chasing us and intercepted us at a deserted place near Surab, some hundred kilometers away from Kalat,’ said Babo Lal, who was one of the five men released by kidnappers.

‘The kidnappers tied our hands from behind with rope and blind folded us, thus I do not know where they were heading,’ Lal was quoted as saying.

Lakki Chand Garji has been the ‘maharaja at Kali Mata Mandir for the past 60 years and he has command on several languages including Balochi, Hindi, Sindhi, Persian and Brahavi, his devotees said.

Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani, Balochistan province chief minister, told the media that he believed it was an incident of kidnapping for ransom and did not have religious overtones. Raisani directed law enforcement agencies to secure the release of the Hindu community leader at the earliest.

He observed that kidnapping cases had risen in certain areas of the province. The protests by the Hindu community members took place in Khuzdar, Quetta, Kalat and Naushki. Hindu community elders said that that they are being targeted by criminals.

Community leaders Nand Lal, Raj Kumar and Chander Kumar said the government has failed to protect the life and property of the people, particularly those belonging to the minority community.

The Hindu Panchayat Quetta took out a rally from the Arya Samaj Mandir in Quetta and went through Jinnah Road, Masjid Road, Shahra-e-Iqbal and Mannan Chowk of the Baloch capital city.

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2010 in Hindus

 

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Being a Hindu in Pakistan


by Marvi Memon, Express Tribune

It’s not easy these days being a Hindu in Pakistan. The number of cases of members of the Hindu community being kidnapped for ransom is on the rise, both in Sindh and in Balochistan. While recently attending a meeting of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee for Law and Justice, I realised that a stringent law was already in place under which a person convicted of this offence could be sentenced to life in prison or even death. As usual, the discussion revolved around the fact that while we had good laws, they were not being implemented.

Personally, I am against capital punishment — and the logic is quite straightforward: since we don’t give life, we have no right to take it away. And hence life imprisonment is acceptable but not capital punishment. However, the rise in cases of kidnapping, often of children, has altered this view. Those who kidnap people for ransom need to be dealt with a heavy hand, more so because in Pakistan where we hardly ever see anyone punished for this crime. In August, before the floods had hit Sindh, I visited a Hindu Sindhi family in Kashmore whose six-year-old had been kidnapped. The state of the mother was enough to convince me to press for severe punishment as a deterrent to stop this kind of crime.

I was told that Hindus were being targeted because, by and large, they lacked political clout and made for easier targets. Furthermore, those involved in kidnapping for ransom often had connections to powerful people, and this explained why, in most instances, the kidnappers were never caught.

The tragedy is that as a result of these kidnappings, many Hindu families have migrated to India. After all, it is better to live in another country than in perpetual fear. This is the biggest failure of the so-called Islamic Republic of Pakistan — that its minorities don’t feel safe on their own soil.

Clearly, the government’s package, called ‘Aghaz-e-Huqooq Balochistan’ has not achieved much in that province. For instance, in 2009 a 13-year-old was kidnapped and released after a ransom of Rs1.8 million was paid. Another Hindu was kidnapped from the busy Sariab road and released after a ransom of Rs4.2 million was paid. A Hindu man was kidnapped and released after his family paid Rs1.5 million. A Hindu shopkeeper was asked to pay Rs6million at which point he migrated to India — this happened in August of this year. And this is just a partial list.

The Hindu community is peaceful — so what is its biggest sin? It is a minority in a land where there is no rule of law. All that is needed is the political will to go after those involved in these kidnappings — the incidents will stop and our Hindu compatriots will stop fleeing to India.

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2010 in Christians

 

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