Sindhi Journalist Targeted as Pakistan Remains Unsafe for Independent Minds

Pakistan is one of the most unsafe countries for journalists, politicians and human rights activists. On June 16, the bullet ridden body of 22-year old Niaz Hussain Lashari, a labour rights activist in Karachi and a member of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (Arisar), was found in Gulshan-e-Hadeed, Karachi.

Lashari was initially arrested on charges of terrorism but while attending a hearing at the anti-terrorist court in Hyderabad in January 2019, he was abducted by unidentified persons as he left the court premises.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) condemned the extrajudicial murder of Lashari stating: “This pattern, now all too familiar, is in flagrant violation of the constitutional right to fair trial and due process. It is another notch—of thousands—in Pakistan’s grievous record of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings. HRCP demands a transparent, independent enquiry into the killing of Mr Lashari. Law enforcement and respect for human rights can and must coexist if both are to serve their purpose—to protect all citizens and residents of the country.”

The SAATH Forum, a grouping of prominent Pakistani human rights defenders, public intellectuals, journalists, scholars, also issued a strong statement.

“SAATH has become aware of several incidents of extrajudicial killing and enforced disappearance of Sindhi political workers in last few days. On 16 June, tortured body of Niaz Lashari, a worker of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz – Arisar (JSQM-A) was found in Karachi. He was abducted by agencies 18 months ago from Hyderabad. In last seven days six political workers affiliated with various Sindhi nationalist organisations have been force kidnapped by state agencies from various towns and cities of Sindh including: Ayatullah Jarwar, Mukhtiar Bozdar, Jabbar Sarki, Saeed Mangi, Babar Solangi, Kifayat Jatoi. SAATH is seriously concerned at this intensification of human rights violations in Sindh and demand from the government to fulfil its obligations under the national and international laws for human rights protection to stop these atrocities and bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Author: Sohail Ahmed

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Author: Sohail Ahmed