Since the imposition of emergency rule, we have received notes from members of the Global Fund network. Below are letters and notes from from Asma Jehangir, noted human rights activist and member of grantee AGHS Legal Aid Cell who is currently under house arrest; and members of Women Against Rape (WAR), and from Rural Women's Welfare Organization:
From Asma Jahangir, renowned lawyer and Chairperson of the Pakistan Human Rights Commission and member of AGHS Legal Aid Cell:
Appeal for support to lawyers and judges in Pakistan!
I am fortunate to be under house arrest while my colleagues are suffering. The Musharraf government has declared martial law to settle scores with lawyers and judges. While the terrorists remain on the loose and continue to occupy more space in Pakistan, senior lawyers are being tortured. The civil society of Pakistan urges bar associations allover the world to mobilize public opinion in favor of the judges and lawyers in Pakistan. A large number of judges of superior courts are under arrest. Thousands of lawyers are imprisoned, beaten and tortured.
In particular, the cases of Muneer A Malik, Aitzaz Ahsan, Tariq Mahmood and Ali Ahmed Kurd are serious. Muneer A Malik, the former President of the Supreme Court Bar Association and leader of the lawyers’ movement has been shifted to the notorious Attack Fort. He is being tortured and is under the custody of the military intelligence. Tariq Mahmood, former President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, was imprisoned in Adiala jail. No one was allowed to see him and it is reported that he has been shifted to an unknown place. Mr. Ali Ahmed Kurd, former Vice Chair of the Pakistan Bar Council is in the custody of military intelligence and being kept at an undisclosed place. Mr. Aitzaz Ahsan, President of the Supreme Court Bar, is being kept in Adiayala jail in solitary confinement.
Representatives of bar associations should approach their governments to pressure the government of Pakistan to release all lawyers and judges and immediately provide access to Muneer A Malik, Tariq Mahmood, Ali Ahmed Kurd and Aitzaz Ahsan. The bar associations are also urged to hold press conferences in their country and express their
solidarity with the lawyers of Pakistan who are struggling to establish the rule of law.
Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan
Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan
Update from Women Against Rape (WAR):
Thank you for your message of concern and solidarity.
This is indeed a very difficult time for all of us. I was just informed that two lawyers on the WAR panel who had just gone to court to conduct their regular cases have also been arrested. In spite of efforts no one is being allowed access to them. Our work is obviously being severely affected as the work in courts has come to a virtual standstill. Civil society, however, continues to lodge its protest in different ways. Thank you once again for your support and concern.
I will keep you apprised of the situation.
Rural Women's Welfare Organization (RWWO) wrote :
We are grateful for your encouraging letter. The situation is very critical. After the emergency on November 3rd (some say it should be called the day Marshal Law was imposed!) everything is upset over here. We have no access to the print media or television – all news channels are blocked. We don't know what is going on in the Capital!All of us are struggling for betterment and we are sure that God Almighty will help all of us.
Thank you again!
Sanghar, Sindh, Pakistan.
For reliable updates and information on the ongoing emergency in Pakistan, visit this terrific Wiki Resource.
Photo Courtesy: BBC