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Startseite Urgent Actions 2019 11 Human rights defender at risk of torture No sign of disappeared human rights defender
FI 159/19-2
Pakistan
Aktiv seit 21. Mai 2020 | Noch 27 Tage Laufzeit

No sign of disappeared human rights defender

AI-Index: ASA 33/2331/2020

The whereabouts of Muhammad Idris Khattak, a Pakistani father, human rights defender and independent researcher, remain unknown since he was forcibly disappeared on 13 November 2019. A patient of diabetes requiring daily medication, the health of Khattak is at even greater risk during the COVID-19 outbreak as the conditions of his detention remain unknown. With no information about his fate for six months, his daughters fear that Khattak is at real risk of torture or ill-treatment

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Idris Khattak has worked as a consultant with Amnesty International and other international human rights NGOs. For years, he has documented a wide range of human rights violations and humanitarian crises in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

He was on his way home from Islamabad when his rented car was intercepted near the Swabi Interchange of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The only other person in the car was the driver with whom Idris Khattak has travelled frequently. The driver was also picked up with Idris Khattak on 13 November 2019. His family only found out about his disappearance once the driver was released the night of 15 November 2019.

According to the application submitted by Mr Khattak’s family, for the registration of the police case, four men in plain clothes put a black sack on the faces of Mr Khattak and the driver and took them to an undisclosed location.

The disappeared are at risk of torture and even death. If they are released, the physical and psychological scars endure. Disappearances are a tool of terror that strikes not just individuals or families, but entire societies. Enforced disappearance is a crime under international law and, if committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack, they constitute a crime against humanity.

In Pakistan, enforced disappearance has been used as a tool to muzzle dissent and criticism of military policies. The individuals and groups targeted in enforced disappearances include Sindhis, Baloch, Pashtuns, the Shia community, political activists, human rights defenders, members and supporters of religious and nationalist groups, suspected members of armed groups, and proscribed religious and political organisations in Pakistan.

Amnesty International has been receiving reports of enforced disappearances and arbitrary detentions of dissidents, students and other citizens from across the country throughout 2019.

In January 2019, a political dissident Ahmad Mustafa Kanju was forcibly disappeared from his house in Rahim Yar Khan, Punjab province. In October 2019, Suleman Farooq Chaudhry an engineering graduate who was critical of the government on social media was taken from outside Islamabad. The whereabouts of both men are still unknown to their families.

The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance defines an enforced disappearance as «the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law».

The current government of Imran Khan promised to criminalize enforced disappearances through legislation, however no such legislation has even been tabled in the parliament. Shireen Mazari, the Minister for Human Rights, has stated that government wants to sign the International Convention for Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances, but no progress has been made on this front. Instead, the practice of enforced disappearance continues in the country with impunity.

 

Take action

  • Write an appeal in your own words or use the model letter below.
  • Please take action before 2 July 2020.
  • Preferred language: English, Urdu. You can also write in your own language.

ATTENTION! Due to the Corona crisis, worldwide mail delivery is currently restricted. As the delivery can change daily, please check on the Website of the Swiss post office whether letters are currently being delivered to the destination country. If not, we ask you to use other communication channels - email, fax or social media, if available - for the delivery of your appeal and/or send it via the embassy with the request for forwarding to the named person.

Model letter

Your Excellency Prime Minister Imran Khan,

I write to you out of extreme concern for the life and safety of Muhammad Idris Khattak, a 56-year-old human rights defender and a former consultant with Amnesty International, who is believed to have been forcibly disappeared more than half a year ago by men in plain clothes on 13 November 2019.

Mr. Khattak is a human rights defender and independent researcher, who has documented human rights violations faced by people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

It is distressing that there is no way to know if Mr. Khattak, a patient of diabetes who already requires daily medication, is being protected from the COVID-19 outbreak.

You have previously shown your support for the families of enforced disappearances, even joined them during demonstrations. His daughters Shumaisa and Talia are terrified that the worst has happened to their father.

Few punishments are as cruel as enforced disappearances and not knowing the whereabouts and fate of their loved one is a source of immense pain and anguish for Mr. Khattak’s family. Enforced disappearances have long been a stain on Pakistan’s human rights record. As of 30 June 2019, Pakistan government’s Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearance has 2,141 cases unresolved.

I call upon your government to immediately disclose the whereabouts of Idris Khattak to his family, and either immediately release him or ensure that he is brought promptly before a judge in a civilian court to rule on the lawfulness of his arrest or detention.

Yours sincerely,

Appeals to

Prime Minister Imran Khan
Prime Minister’s Office
Constitution Avenue G-5/2
Islamabad
Pakistan

Fax: +92 51-9215519
E-mail: info@pmo.gov.pk
Twitter: @ImranKhanPTI

Your Excellency Prime Minister Imran Khan,

 

 

Copies to

Ambassade du Pakistan
Bernastrasse 47
3005 Berne

Fax: 031 350 17 99
E-mail: parepbern@gmail.com
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