Archive for March, 2011

Interview with Bharumal by Ali Palh

After seeing pictures of young people wearing green jackets and caps on  Bharumal’s facebook wall, I became curious and wanted to know more about them. Before I go further, I would like to introduce Bharumal, who is a journalist and activist working for the promotion and protection of not only human but also plants and animal rights in Thar desert, Sindh, Pakistan, I asked him: “who were these young people in green uniforms. Bharumal told me that they are called GGs means Green Guards who work for the preservation and protection of plants, trees in desert area of Tharparkar where all people live together without any distinction of color, creed, race and ethnicity. Thar is also an area where people love animal and plants like their own family members. I found it really interesting and amazing and thought would be great if Bharumal shares more about his and his NGOs work on preservation and protection of plants and also the work of GGs (Green Guards).

Green Guard or GGs

Question: What Scope has done for the protection and preservation of Gugral (Campihora mukal)?

Here is Bharumal’s answer:

Society for Conservation and Protection of Environment (SCOPE) is struggling to conserve wildlife and forests of district Tharparkar. For the protection of trees, this organization has filed a complaint in District & Session Court Tharparkar at Mithi to stop illegal destruction of Gugral (Campihora mukal). Honorable Syed Saghar Hussain Zaidi District and Session Judge/Director Human Rights called a high official meeting on Jan 21, 2010 and established Vigilance Committees for Wildlife and Forest at district and Taluka level. We highly appreciate his action.

He further added that SCOPE arranged awareness workshops in all sub-districts to involve community, civil society, media persons, social activists and line department. More interestingly, this organization has trained 200 young volunteers from union council Nangar Parkar and Pethapur (name of areas). They have got Green Guards Training in collaboration with SCOPE. Green Guard is someone who protects trees, wildlife, lessen pollution and do environment friendly activities so that we can obtain benefits from our natural resources without providing any damage to them. Does not Green Guards do a job of angels? They are known in these areas as GGs.

GGs from each village act as a watchdog to protect their natural resources, in case, anybody finds any persons doing socially and legally banned activity such as chopping tree, catching bird or wild animal, or shooting any animal. They impose penalty on that person so that remaining flora and fauna can be conserved. Government of Pakistan and its wild life department should really appreciate the work these GGs are doing with the support of SCOPE. This is the work which Government department should be doing. Thanks to these volunteers who know their duties to protect the environment in case their governments are unwilling or unable to protect the environment. Bharumal told me how much respectful these GGs are of the rule of law. Instead of taking law in their hands, they report the cases of illegal chopping of trees to both wild life department and the local police. So these trained GGs work as the ears of the Government. Are not such wonderful projects sharing the responsibilities of States which does not enough resources to do everything or they have such system which does not respond to such issues?

Training on How to Grow, Protect and Preserve Trees

I asked him (Bharumal) if he has any interesting case study to share with the people. He shared the one mentioned below:

Case Study

Love Ji and Amromal (Teachers) village Paroo jo wandio UC Nangar Parkar – Each Pupil Plant a tree of Gugral (Camiphora mukal) in the school ground

We felt, while working with SCOPE team, gugral is a precious wealth for our livelihood. Not only for human, but for livestock fodder as well. Since 1997, this plant species has been destroyed by applying chemical cut on the plant body. During cut season, our villagers, shepherds are not allowed to browse their sheep, goats and other livestock in the surrounding areas of the village because influential of the area occupy the area forcefully and distribute territories by marking some plastic bags and cloth pieces tying on the branches of these gugral plants.

Advisor to Chief Minister -Sharmila Farooqi duirng her Thar visit talking to KTN, local TV

Bharumal also shared the how their efforts were appreciated and supported by the Advisor to Chief Minister, Miss Sharmila Farooqi, who visited their villages and highly appreciated their work particularly the initiative of SCOPE’s initiative to safeguard the environment.

Frankly speaking, when I heard from Bharu about his and his people’s thinking about environment, I was surprised beyond measure. It surprised me because the level of environmental awareness of these people is equal to people live here in the United States. If we don’t use our resource judiciously and protect environment, soon we will be in a miserable position because we and our future generations will not have resources and whole our natural system will collapse.

Bharumal Briefing Sharmila farooqi about his and his team's protection measures

We have to see how these small initaitve like SCOPE make a big difference in remote and exclusive areas like Thar where Bharu and his companions are working.

He shared that, “We decided during the Green Group meeting and in the school that we must play positive role for the protection of gugral forests. Thereby, a strategy came to surface after some mutual discussion that each student of the school ought to plant a gugral shrub in the school. In addition, he/she will look after this plant and water it during recess time. We have attended Green Guards Training of SCOPE and learned many living ideas for the conservation of key species of plants and animals. We are feeling pleasure for applying this activity because we think though, this activity is small but it has a big lesson. It will induce environmental friendly behavior in the school children and a paradigm for the others.”


  Ali Palh -LL.M, Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University
‘Umeed-e-Sahar’ or ‘Hope for a new dawn,’ a charity concert with Salman Ahmad and Shahram Azhar, was organized by Harvard University students and held at Leverette House Dining Hall, 8 Mill Street, Cambridge, MA on Saturday, March 26, from 8:30 to 10:30 pm. However, it exceeded and continued till 11:15 pm on public demand. Later, audiences spent some time with both singers and preserved this beautiful moment with Salman and Shahram in the eye of cameras. The primary purpose of holding the concert was to collect funds for the benefit of the flood victims of Pakistan. Of course, it served other purposes as well, including entertainment, bringing Pakistanis, Indians and other South Asians together and spreading the word of peace and harmony across the world. It really did highlight the plight of Pakistanis affected by the floods and let the world know that the extent of the disaster is higher than reported. All funds collected from the concert were donated to Salman and Samina Global Wellness Initiative for the welfare of families affected by the recent flood in Pakistan. Global Wellness Initiative (SSGWI), is currently working to rehabilitate flood affected families in Pakistan. For More information about Global Wellness Initiative please click
Salman thanking organizers; Suhas and Zoreen Ibrahim

Salman Ahmad, a popular Pakistani singer who was born and brought up in Lahore, got his early education from Aitchison College, Lahore. He is one of South Asia’s most influential cultural figures. He is a musician, physician and United Nations goodwill ambassador. His band, Junoon, has sold over 25 million albums worldwide and has shared the stage with artists such as Melissa Etheridge, Alicia Keys, Sting, Earth Wind and Fire, and Wyclef Jean. The evening started with the awesome performance of Shahram Azhar, the lead vocalist of the up and coming Pakistan musical band, Laal. Shahram told me that he is from Rawalpindi and when I told him that I am from Hyderabad, he greeted me as, “Sain, Chal Hal Ahin?” “How are you sir?” a particular Sindhi way in which people greet each other in Sindh. In just a short span of one year, Shahram and his band have gained national as well as international recognition for their song, Main Nay Kaha, a satirical poem composed in the 1960′s by Habib Jalib, and their album ‘Umeed e Sahar’.

Salman Ahmad & Ali Palh

Habib Jalib was a revolutionary poet, a staunch democrat who opposed martial law, authoritarianism and state oppression through his provoking poetry. Habib Jalib was the first who was imprisoned during the martial regime of Ayub Khan due to his defiant views and poetry on Ayub Khan’s dictatorial policies. One of his legendary poems “Dastoor,” in English, “System,” he wrote in defiance of Ayub Khan, jolting his regime.

دیپ جس کا محلات ہی میں جلے  (Deep jis ka mahlat hee me jale)

 چند لوگوں کی خوشیوں کو لے کر چلے (Chand logon ki khushiyun ko le kar chale)

وہ جو سایےمیں ہر مصلحت کے پلے  (We jo sae mein har maslihat ke pale)

ایسے دستور کو، صبح بےنور کو (Aise Dastur Ko, Subah Be noor ko)

میں نہیں مانتا،میں نہیں مانتا  (mein nahi manta, mein nahi manta)


Whose light shines only in palaces

And carries the joys of only a few people

That derives its strength from others’ weaknesses

That system, like a dawn without light

I refuse to acknowledge, I refuse to accept


 When Shahram sang ‘Main ne us se ye kaha’ the audience became emotionally charged and the whole hall was echoing with applause. The song went:


Main ne us se ye kaha

ye jo das crore hain,

jehl ka nichor hain

inki fikr so gayi

har umeed ki kiran,

zulmaton me kho gai

ye khabar darust hai,

inki mot ho gai


be shaoor log hain

zindagi ka rog hain

aur tere paas hai

inke dard ki dawa

Main ne us se ye kaha


tu khuda ka noor hai

akl hai, shaoor hai

qaum tere saath hai

tere hi!, hi!, hi!, wajood se

mulk ki nijaat hai

tu hai mehr-e-subh-e-nau

tere baad raat hai!

bolte jo chand hain

sab ye shar pasand hain!

inki khainch le zabaan

inka ghoont de gala


Maine ne us se ye kaha

Maine ne us se ye kaha


jin ko tha zaban pe naaz

chup hain wo zaban daraaz

chain hai samaaj me

bemisaal fark hai

kal me aur aaj me

apne kharch par hain log

kaid tere raaj me


Maine ne us se ye kaha

Maine ne us se ye kaha


cheen apna yar hai

us pe jan nisar hai

par wahan jo hai nizaam

us taraf na jaayio

us ko door se salaam


das crore ye gadhe

jin ka naam hai awaam

kia banain ge hukmaran

tu!, tu!, tu! yaqeen hai ye gumaan

apni to dua hai ye

sadr tu rahe sada


Maine ne us se ye kaha

Maine ne us se ye kaha

 You can hear the same poety by Jalib himself at http://

When Salman and Shahram started singing together, it felt like Indus and Kabul river are meeting at Attok, district connects two provinces (Punjab and Khaibar Pakhtun Kha) of Pakistan.

Songs: O laal meri pat rakhio bala jhoole laalan, Sindri da Sehvan da, sakhi Shabaaz kalandar, Dama dam mast kalandar, Ali dam dam de andar

(O the red robed, May I always have your benign protection, Jhulelal (as he was affectionately called ). O, the lord,the friend and the Sire of Sindh and Sehwan ( or Serwan ),The red robed God-intoxicated Qalandar, The lord in every breath of mine, glory unto to you).

Shrine of Lal Qalandar Shahbaz

Both Salman and Shahram performed following songs together.

Songs: O laal meri pat rakhio bala jhoole laalan, Sindri da Sehvan da, sakhi Shabaaz kalandar, Dama dam mast kalandar, Ali dam dam de andar

(O the red robed, May I always have your benign protection, Jhulelal (as he was affectionately called ). O, the lord,the friend and the Sire of Sindh and Sehwan ( or Serwan ),The red robed God-intoxicated Qalandar, The lord in every breath of mine, glory unto to you)

This has been one of the most favorite song of the audiences in every function. It has also been a most favourite with all singers. Be it Abida Perveen, Shazia Khush, Salman, Ustad Nusrat Ali, Madam Noor Jahan, Sabri Brothers, Lata, Jagjit or Runa laila.

Shahram Azhar

Shahram Azhar, has its own sweet voice and distinguished mystic style which force audiences to move heads on the rhythem of music.

After Shahram, Salman Ahmad was warmly welcome by the audience. Salman really knows what audience want. He is not only a good singer but also a very good speaker. he knows the art of engaging people. He started from Ameer Khusro and sang ‘OM TUM TANA’ and linked to World Cup between Pakistan and India by singing ‘Yaro Yahi Dosti He’ (Dude!! Thats friendship).

Why United Nation selected Salman Ahmad its ‘Peace Ambassador’ is understandable because a singer and an artist can spread a message farther, more effectively and more efficiently. Salman Ahmad in his song Ghoom Tana has really depicted the situation of 1947 –partition of India and Pakistan. You can easily feel the intensity of pain people endured during the division of Patiala (East) and Lahore Western Punjab.

Ali Rizvi & Ahmed Jhaveri with Salman Ahmad

Salman knows what audiences are up to and what they want to listen and enjoy. Seems he lives in the beat of people’s heart.

Chura liya hai tumne jo dil ko

Nazar nahin churaana sanam

Badalke meri tum zindagaani

Kahin badal na jaana sanam

Oh, le liya dil, oh haai mera dil

Haai dil lekar mujhko na behlaana


You have already stolen my heart and after stealing it do not disappear,

You have taken my heart and after taking it do not deceive me…

You have changed my life and after changing it please dont be changed.


Being at Harvard University campus, listening to Habib Jalib by Salman and Shahram revealed the wisdom of the organizers for choosing Harvard as the place for this beautiful evening. 


Harvard University campus is central and easily accessible by T (underground train) or even by buses for all Pakistanis and South Asians, who study at different schools, colleges and universities of Boston. In addition, Harvard University campus has its own magic. Its campus is so beautiful and romantic while the architecture of each building you see on campus is amazing. It reminded me of Pakistan’s Jamshoro, a hilly area on the bank of the Indus River, where three universities of Sindh, Mehran Engineering University, Sindh University and Liaqat Medical University, are located. One visit of Harvard square makes you fresh and revitalizes you if you ever get stressed or exhausted after reading 300 pages of your law course like me. Music at Harvard and that Jalib’s poetry by Salman and Shahram washed away from my soul the dust of everyday life.

Ain, Sana, Ilyas and other students

Programme ended around 11:15 pm. Total number of participants were in hundres. Among them were Suhas rao, Zoreen Ibrahim, Zohaib Mahmood, Ali Palh, Ilyas Khawaja, Syed Ali Rizvi, Aiul Momina, Anjum Taj, Ibrahim Khan, Mohummad Hanif Jhanveri, Aamir Mian, Afrah Shafqat, Afshah Shafqat, Ali Naveed, Noor Nasreen Ibrahim, Anisha Shenai, Anjali Bhati, Bilal and other distinguished guests. Before I end here, I would like to appreciate young organizers who made efforts, contacted Salman Ahmad and Sharam and held this event. Through this many flood affected Pakistani families will get their homes which to me is not mere a roof and four walls but someone’s right to privacy, security and right to life. Will guarnatee both physical as well emotional security of Pakistani families. To these organizers, singers and those who participated and contributed for this cause, my salute.

Salman Ahmad and Shahram Azhar live in concert, for the benefit of the flood victims of Pakistan.

Tickets will be sold at door. $5 for Harvard undergraduates, $10 others.

To reserve tickets email

All proceeds from the concert will be donated to Salman and Samina Global Wellness Initiative for the welfare of families affected by the recent flood in Pakistan

Salman Ahmad
Salman Ahmad, one of South Asia’s most influential cultural figures, is a musician, physician and United Nations goodwill ambassador. His band, Junoon, has sold over 25 million albums worldwide and has shared the stage with artists such as Melissa Etheridge, Alicia Keys, Sting, Earth Wind and Fire, and Wyclef Jean. With his wife, Samina, he launched an NGO called the Salman & Samina Global Wellness Initiative (SSGWI), that is currently working to rehabilitate flood effected families in Pakistan.

Shahram Azhar
Shahram Azhar is the lead vocalist of the up and coming Pakistan musical band, Laal. In just a short span of one year, Shahram and his band have gained national as well as international recognition for their song, Main Nay Kaha, a satirical poem composed in the 1960’s by Habib Jalib, and their album ‘Umeed e Sahar’.

Leverett House Dining Hall
8 Mill Street
Cambridge, MA
Saturday, March 26 · 8:30pm – 10:30pm

(March 23, 2011) – Ten fully-funded fellowships to attend the 13th annual Annenberg-Oxford Media Policy Summer Institute are being made available to qualified applicants from around the world. Sponsored by Internews’ Global Human Rights Program, the Media Policy Fellowships include tuition, housing, travel and per diem to attend the two-week Annenberg-Oxford Summer Institute on Global Media Policy, July 4-15, 2011 at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.  Fellowships are available to individuals, particularly those from post-conflict societies who are interested in media law and policy in such societies. 

The deadline to apply for the Summer Institute and the Fellowship is April 10, 2011.  Interested individuals can apply online through the CGCS web site, indicating interest in the Fellowship when submitting.

About the Annenberg-Oxford Summer Institute

The Annenberg-Oxford Summer Institute is co-sponsored by the Center for Global Communication Studies within the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, and the Programme for Comparative Media Law and Policy at the University of Oxford (PCMLP).

Every year, the Summer Institute brings together emerging scholars and regulators from around the globe to discuss important recent trends in technology, international politics, development, and media policy. This year the Summer Institute will also focus on media, governance, and strategic communication in conflict and post-conflict environments including Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Somalia and Bosnia. 

 For more info about INTERNEWS AND FELLOWSHIP see:

Report by Bharumal Amrani (An activist and journalist,can be reached at

THATT, March 25. More than 600 persons, including male and female, thronged on the roads of Thatta to raise their voice before national and international community, on the eve of world water day, to seek their help to save Indus delta, release water at Kotri downstream, ensure provision of their water share, water the only source of their socio-economic development and life, under the aegis of Society for the Conservation and Protection of Environment Thatta and Fresh Water Action Network South Asia  here on Friday.

Rally led by renowned environmentalist Tanveer Arif, Mahjabeen Khan and Shafi Jatt carrying banners and placards marched at various thoroughfares and raised full throated slogans, “give us water, save Indus delta”, “release downstream water”, “and rehabilitate flood affected families”.

 Environmentalist and intellectual Bharumal Amrani said that Indus Delta is 356 KM long. It stretches over an area of 600,000 hectares between Karachi and south-western border of India. It before falling in the sea is divided into channels and forming a triangular shape which is called delta. It is created when rivers carry water along with silt which is deposited at the transition belt of river and sea. When this practice is continued for centuries it develops delta. He added that the water shed area of Indus River is about ten lac square kilometers. When huge silt carried by rivers flowed into sea and some part was deposited in the river, it increased delta. It used to carry about 40 crore tons silt annually. It is consisted of creeks, extensive mud flats, sand dunes, salt marshes and salsola foetida (lani), tamarix dioca (lai), mangroves and other flora and fauna. He urged the authorities to take appropriate measures for rehabilitation of flora and fauna damaged and disturbed during recent floods.

Speaking on the occasion Taveer Arif of SCOPE said that Sindh is not being given its due share of water, and water is not released at Kotri downstream, resultantly Indus delta and mangroves have reached at the verge of extinction. Survival of lacs of people, flora and fauna is linked with the flowing River Indus. He added that it is the reason that country is facing flood, cyclone, tsunami, which is causing displacement of lacs of people, and other disasters. He said that due to climate change we can not stop these disasters, but we can minimize its damages by rehabilitating Indus delta, which is the only source of socio-economic development of people of Sindh specially living in the tail of river Indus. He called upon authorities to expedite the pace of work on the repair of dykes and no substandard work on dykes will be tolerated, because it is matter of lives and properties of people he warned.

Tasleem said that according to IUCN report 1994, about 70 years ago Indus delta was receiving 847 MAF of fresh water per year, which carries huge quantity of slit later it decreased to 150 MAF per year and carrying 400 million tones of slit with it and now it further decreased to 35.2 MAF.

Shazia Soomro said that Indus delta receives highest wave energy during south west monsoon. In past high power discharge of Indus river water faced highest wave energy which is now reduced and the wave energy is causing severe erosion in some areas of Indus delta, she added that pollution in the marine environment affects the growth pattern of mangrove only in district Thatta due to devastating flood in the River Indus.

Approximately 0.7 million people of Taluka Sijawal, Bahtoro, Jati, Shahbandr, Ghora Bari and Thatta itself were affected seriously.About 0.2 million flood-hit people were shifted to historical graveyard Makli she added.


Saima Zaidi, “Mazaar, Bazaar: Design and Visual Culture in Pakistan” Cabot 102, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
Tuesday, March 29, 2011- 5:30pm to 7:30pm *****

Saima Zaidi, a Communications Designer, studied at the National College of Arts, Lahore and the Pratt Institute, New York. She teaches Typography and History of Design at the Department of Visual Studies, University of Karachi.
She has also taught at Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Karachi and Jazz at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York.

She will be talking about her new book, “Mazaar, Bazaar: Design and Visual Culture in Pakistan” which is a collection of popular and street art in Pakistan. The book is an inter-disciplinary study on design and visual culture
in Pakistan; these reflect social, commercial, and geo-political changes influencing the country. It comprises 33 essays by an array of artists, critics, scholars, curators, and advertising executives. Co-sponsor: Tufts History Department

Contact: Juhi Shahin, or 617.627.3558

The East-West Center in Washington invites you to an Asia Pacific Security Seminar

Mr. Anit Mukherjee
Research Fellow, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi 
and Discussant:
Dr. Stephen P. Cohen
Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies Program, The Brookings Institution
Following the Kargil War in 1999, a conflict between India and Pakistan which took place along the Line of Command (LOC), defense reforms were set in place by the Indian government, especially within the national security agencies. Despite some incremental progress, Mr. Anit Mukherjee argues that these reforms have failed to deliver due to bureaucratic politics and the unique features of civil-military relations. In this presentation, which will be based on his recently published Occasional Paper, “Failing to Deliver: Defense Reforms in India,” Mr. Mukherjee will examine the defense reforms process in India and explore the prospects for re-visiting this process. Dr. Stephen P. Cohen will discuss the impact of Indian civil-military relations on the US-India strategic partnership.
Thursday, March 31
 12:30 P.M. – 2:00 P.M.
Lunch will be served.
East-West Center in Washington
1819 L Street, NW, Washington, DC, Sixth Floor Conference Room*
This event is free and open to the public.
To RSVP, please click here:
Kindly send your reply by March 30. Please note that seating is limited.
Anit Mukherjee is a research fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi, and is also a doctoral candidate at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). His dissertation focuses on civil military relations in India. Mr. Mukherjee previously worked at RAND Corporation as a Summer Associate, and prior to joining SAIS, he was a Major in the Indian Army. His writing has been published in the New York Times, India Review, Wall Street Journal (Asia) and Indian Express, among others publications. Mr. Mukherjee is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy (NDA), Khadakwasla, and earned his M.A. at SAIS, concentrating in South Asia Studies and Strategic Studies.

Stephen P. Cohen is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, which he joined in 1998 after a career at the University of Illinois. Dr. Cohen has also previously served on the Policy Planning Staff of the State Department. He is the author, co-author, or editor of over fourteen books, mostly on South Asian security issues, the most recent being Arming without Aiming: India Modernizes its Military (2010). Currently, he is working on a book which focuses on the intractability of India-Pakistan relations. Dr. Cohen received his PhD in Political Science and Indian Studies from the University of Wisconsin, and in 2004, was named as one of America’s five hundred most influential people in the area of foreign policy.


Training the next generation of young leaders in the struggle for Tibet’s freedom

HIGHLIGHTS: An evening with Ngawang Sangdrol (Activist, former political prisoner)
Join us from 6-8pm on Friday for an evening of intimate talk with the Drapchi prison survivor Ngawang Sangdrol, who was arrested at age 13 and imprisoned for 11 years for participating in a peaceful protest.
Public Speaking and more

Saturday & Sunday workshops to include: Nonviolent Direct Action, Vision & Strategy, Teaching Tibet, Media & Messaging, Grassroots Organizing,

Friday, March 25 – Sunday, March 27
Venue: University of Massachusetts Boston
Contact: olo4reel[at]

For Registration please visit:

Tibetan students  held Tibetan Freedom Vigil at Harvard Square in United States. Today 23th March, 2011 Students For Free Tibet held a protest at Harvard Square, Harvard University, Cambridge MA; where nonviolent protestors demanded the freedom of Tibet. People from different ethnic groups and nationalities joined the protest and expressed the solidarity with the people of Tibet and their cause.

According to Tibetan community of Boston, they will hold these vigils on every Wednesday evening from 6:30 -8:30 pm at Harvard Square.

Tibetan community leader Sepa addressed the protestor and demanded the freedom of Tibet. Protestors were bearing flags and banners saying, “China out Of Tibet” and ‘Human Rights for Tibet.” RightsNow Pakistan expresses it solidarity with the six million Tibetans living in the Tibet and appreciate thier nonviolent strugle for the promotion and protection of their rights.

March 24, 2011

The President of Pakistan

Asif Ali Zardari



Honorable President,

RightsNOW Pakistan appreciates the steps taken by the current democratically elected Government of Pakistan under your leadership for showing good gestures in the international human rights regime by ratifying the two key international human rights treaties: International Convention on Civil Political and Cultural Rights (ICCPR) and Convention on Torture (CAT). Ratifications of other key treaties: the Rome statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, and Refugee Convention 1951 would bring Pakistan closer to the list of countries which have ratified most of the international treaties on human rights and justice. We hope your Government will show the similar political will and commitment regarding these conventions as you did in the above two. However, despite the appreciation for steps your Government has taken for the ratification of these conventions, we wish to raise our serious concerns over the implementation of conventions to which Pakistan is a party. The situation of human rights in Pakistan is deteriorating day by day where minorities are living in a constant fear of persecution and fleeing the country whenever they get the opportunity and by whatever means possible.  

President of Pakistan-Asif Ali Zardari

Recently, hundreds of Ahmadiyya Pakistanis, including men, women and children, fled from Pakistan and sought refuge in Thailand[1] due to fear and threats of persecution in Pakistan. This happened after around more than 93 people from Ahmadiyya were killed in a Lahore mosque attack.[2] Ahmadiyya minorities are not the only victims of religious extremism in Pakistan. Other minorities have also been targeted by the religious extremists from time to time. Other religious minorities including Shias and Hindus have also been threatened, harassed, abducted and killed because of their beliefs. Hindu businessmen and their family members in Sindh are being abducted for ransom. This situation has placed a veto on the free and fearless celebration of Hindu community’s rituals and limited their freedom of movement in Sindh, Baluchistan and other parts of the country.[3] The assassination of Federal Minister for Minority Affairs, ShahBaz Bhatti in broad daylight in the capital of Pakistan just two months after the Governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer was assassinated by his own guard, in the same city, shows the lowest level of protection of religious minorities and those who raises voice for them or/and defend them in Pakistan. Attacks for the highest officials of the Government reveals the short arm of the law further adding to the fears and insecurity of common public.  

The illegal detention, torture and disappearance of human rights activists is another issue plaguing Pakistan’s human rights record at both national and international levels. The exact number of disappearances is not known due to different factors including the secret detention by Pakistani agencies without trial. Even when asked by relatives, agencies deny knowledge of the whereabouts of the detained, despite eyewitness testimony of their detention or arrest. Despite these hindrances and challenges, however, 8000 cases of missing persons have been reported since the start of the war on terror from all parts of the country. This situation has led to where Pakistan now ranks amongst the world’s worst perpetrators of forced disappearances as a result of domestic and international conflicts.[1] Disappearance causes enormous suffering both to the direct victim as well as to his or her family and friends. It violates human rights and in some cases, is even a crime against humanity.[2]

 In Baluchistan province alone, over 4000 persons are reportedly missing and disappearances continue to be perpetrated. The sad side of it is that paramilitary forces are accused of committing it. In Baluchistan, on one side a hand of reconciliation is being extended by the Government while on the other side bullets riddled dead bodies of Kidnapped Baloches are being found from different desolated places in the province. In Sindh province, Sindhi nationalists are being targeted. Over 100 Sindhi nationalists are believed to be held in secret detentions and have been disappeared.[3] Recently few cases of disappearances have been reported in the province of Sindh including Muzaffar Bhutto, senior member of a Sindhi nationalist political party in Pakistan, who has been abducted for a second time allegedly by plain clothed state actors.[4] His wife fears that he might be tortured or/and killed.[5] Since the beginning of the War on Terror, huge numbers of disappearances has also been reported in the Khyber Pakhtun Kha and Punjab provinces.  

 Despite ratification of Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) the   honor killing cases and other serious women’s rights violations are still being reported from different parts of the country at the similar extent.[6] Pakistan’s implementation of Economic Social and Cultural rights is not showing any improvement in masses lives. Recently, Sindh Education Contract Employees, who were nonviolently protesting for their restoration and regularization, were severely beaten by the Police in Karachi.[7] The Police’s unruly and inhumane treatment of teachers categorically shows how much we have respect for this respectable profession and how much police respect human rights in Pakistan.

This kind of situation collectively is tarnishing the image of Pakistan at an international level, spreading fear, insecurity and chaos within our society, creating discontent and despair among patriot Pakistanis both within and outside Pakistan and forcing religious minorities to leave or flee the country.

At international level, countries are concerned about both our human rights and security situation and some of them are reluctant to issue visas to Pakistanis who intend to go to these countries for education, employment and other legitimate and genuine purposes. Foreign tourists and investors are afraid and unwilling to come to Pakistan and those who are already in the country either plan to leave or have already left the country. This kind of situation will seriously affect the already deteriorated health of Pakistani economy. We believe and know that no one else can better understand about these human rights violations than you because in past you yourself have experienced torture during your imprisonment in Pakistan and your family has also suffered at the hands of extremism.

We hope the Government of Pakistan led by you will take substantial and comprehensive measures and translate its commitment to human rights by ratification of treaties into practice by their implementation on the ground to eliminate the threats to religious minorities and provide them legal and physical protection. Offer fair trials and due process to the accused, uphold the rule of law and accountability, improve the safety and security of human rights defenders, and make genuine efforts to accommodate the concerns of political minorities in the country in order to eliminate the discontent among smaller provinces.

We reiterate that the goal you have set by ratifying these treaties is not difficult to pursue. It needs political will and genuine commitment. Writing this letter to you shows we believe that your Government will take measure to improve human rights situation and their protection in the country. 

Finally, we thank you for your consideration of our views and look forward to your response to these matters of urgent concern.

Yours sincerely,

 Ali Palh          


Sikandar Baloch     

News Editor                                                                                                        




[1] Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) Statement, ‘PAKISTAN: Thousands of persons remain missing amid government inaction.’

[3]Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) Statement, ‘PAKISTAN: Thousands of persons remain missing amid government inaction.’

[4]Political activist abducted in Pakistan: Muzaffar Bhutto-

[5]Pakistan: Political activist abducted in Pakistan: Muzaffar Bhutto-

[6] Pakistan: Three teenage girls buried alive in tribal ‘honour’ killing.

[1] Refugee Arrests in Thailand Highlights Struggle For Protection in South-East Asia, Refugee Council for Australia, Press Release, 22 December 2010, Available at:…/221210_Thailand_arrests.pdf

[2]Pakistan Ahmadiyyas bury Lahore mosque attacks victims. May 29, 2011.Available:

[3] Extremism, kidnappings take gloss away from Holi celebrations, Saturday, March 19, 2011, Pakistan Today. Available at: