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Pakistan: 10th DAY OF THE ENDANGERED LAWYER 2020 (24-01-2020) WITH THE FOCUS ON PAKISTAN: A struggle to protect Pakistani lawyers, especially against Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism — BASIC REPORT

October 9, 2019

Background

Over the past several years lawyers in Pakistan have been subjected to acts of mass terrorism, murder, attempted murder, assaults, (death) threats, contempt proceedings, harassment and intimidation in the execution of their professional duties.  They have also been arrested, detained or tortured, and in some cases the family members of the murdered lawyer have also been murdered.  Some lawyers have been threatened with disbarment or had their homes raided by the police.  Sometimes Christian lawyers or members of minority sects have been assaulted or threatened with death.  The most notorious attack on Pakistani lawyers occurred on August 8, 2016 when terrorists attacked the Government Hospital of Quetta with a suicide bombing and shooting which resulted in the death of 56 lawyers.  Since there has been an alarming increase in the number of lawyers murdered, with nine reported over the past year.  More recently Saif-ul-Malook received serious death threats for representing Asia Bibi, who had been sentenced to death for blasphemy, as a result of which he was forced to flee temporarily to the Netherlands.

The perpetrators of these attacks have been terrorists, religious zealots, the police and unreported sources. There have also been reports that pro-government militias (which still exist today) have been behind some of the murders, and in some cases lawyers have been killed because they are Shia. In response to these repeated attacks, Pakistani lawyers frequently strike, demonstrate, protest and hold boycotts.

The life of an Advocate is at risk the moment he or she takes up a case. It does not matter if it is the opposing party or the very party that the lawyer is representing.

By its constitution of 1956, the official name of Pakistan is the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. More than 96% of Pakistan’s 197 million citizens (2017) are Muslims, and Islam is the state religion, the overwhelming majority of whom are Sunni Muslims.  Pakistan  has also an important minority of Shi’ite Muslims as well as a number of other minority religions, including Christianity, whose followers are subjected to discrimination, violence and death, especially the misuse of blasphemy laws.  Among countries with a Muslim majority, Pakistan has the strictest anti-blasphemy laws.  The Pakistan Penal Code punishes blasphemy (Urdu: قانون توہین رسالت‎) against any recognized religion, providing penalties ranging from a fine to death.  From 1967 to 2014, over 1,300 people were accused of blasphemy, with Muslims constituting most of those accused.  Between 1987 to 2017 at least 1,500 people were charged with blasphemy and at least 75 people involved in accusations of blasphemy were killed in Pakistan according to the Center for Social Justice.

Many people accused of blasphemy have been murdered before their trials were concluded, and prominent figures who opposed the blasphemy law have been assassinated.  In fact since 1990, 62 people have been murdered following blasphemy allegations.  According to one religious minority source, an accusation of blasphemy commonly exposes the accused, police, lawyers, and judges to harassment, threats, attacks and rioting.

Violence and the threat of violence are omnipresent in Pakistan, and according to the Ministry of Interior terrorism poses a significant threat to the people of Pakistan. The current wave of terrorism is believed to have started in 2000 and peaked during 2009.  According to a 2018 report by Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, 23,372 Pakistani civilians and 8,832 Pakistani security personnel had been killed in the war on terrorism.  Pakistan is said to be a safe haven for a number of terrorist groups, including Al-Qaeda, it has been accused of giving aid to the Taliban and hosting terrorist camps, and therefore it is responsible for state-sponsored or state-condoned terrorism.

Pakistani law is based upon the legal system of British India, thus ultimately on the Common Law of England and Wales.  There are six Bar Councils in Pakistan which came into being as a result of enactment of Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils Act 1973. These Bar Councils regulate legal professionals across provincial, territorial and national levels.  They include the Bar Councils of: Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Islamabad, Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, as well as the Pakistan Bar Council, the national Bar association.

The cases mentioned in this report have been documented by Pakistani lawyers, the International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL), Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), Zykyria Muiloo and the European Bar Human Rights Institute (IDHAE).

DOTEL2020Pakistan.BasicDocumentDraft.TS-SR.25.9.2019

https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/09/26/pakistan-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-global-bodies-worry-over-pakistani-lawyers-safety/

https://concernedscientists.org/2019/10/pakistan-academic-still-incarcerated-for-blasphemy-for-the-past-five-years/

https://www.oneindia.com/india/no-escaping-pakistan-has-failed-to-curb-terror-funding-may-remain-in-greylist-2960748.html

DAY OF THE ENDANGERED LAWYER – 24 January 2020 – PAKISTAN

https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/06/22/pakistan-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-january-24-2020-pakistan/

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http://www.asianews.it/notizie-it/Asia-Bibi-parla-per-la-prima-volta:-Giustizia-per-le-vittime-innocenti-di-blasfemia-47895.html (ITALIANO)

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The Netherlands: International statement of solidarity

October 7, 2019

On 4 October 2019, a memorial service was organized for Dutch lawyer Derk Wiersum. On this day, a international solidarity statement signed by 34 organizations including Lawyers for Lawyers was published.

International statement of solidarity

Mr. Wiersum, a well-respected lawyer and deputy judge, was shot in broad daylight right outside his house in Amsterdam in the early morning of 18 September 2019. He was representing a crown witness in the so-called Marengo-trial, a high-profile criminal case against members of an organization accused of several murders and attempted murders in the last couple of years. Although the events are still being investigated, it is assumed and highly likely that the death of Mr. Wiersum is related to his work as a lawyer.

This killing of a lawyer, apparently in connection with his work, raises serious concerns for the safety of lawyers and poses a threat to the proper functioning of the rule of law and the adequate protection of rights, including the right to remedies and fair trial.

The organizations welcome the prompt and public condemnation of this crime and the immediate measures taken by the Dutch authorities to initiate an investigation, which should lead to the identification and prosecution of the perpetrators. The organizations also welcome that measures were taken promptly and immediately to protect lawyers and all others who need protection in the Marengo-case. We expect that the Dutch authorities will do everything in their power to ensure that lawyers can do their work safely, freely, and independently in all circumstances.

International statement of solidarity

https://www.ibanet.org/Article/NewDetail.aspx?ArticleUid=ade7b54a-d809-4394-862d-2bd25bcc9555

International Statement of Solidarity

https://nltimes.nl/2019/10/03/suspect-custody-tied-amsterdam-defense-attorneys-murder

https://www.occrp.org/en/27-ccwatch/cc-watch-briefs/10825-lawyer-assassination-leads-to-calls-for-police-hiring

Pakistan/Day of the Endangered Lawyer: Alleged police highhandedness: KP lawyers observe strike

October 1, 2019

Lawyers continue strike, demand suspension of SDPO

The legal fraternity on Monday observed a strike across the province to protest the police officer’s highhandedness with a lawyer in Chitral district.

Like other parts of the province, the lawyers observed a strike in the provincial capital and sought action against a police officer in Booni Police, Rajab Ali. The lawyers observed the strike on the call of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council to condemn and protest the police officer’s alleged inhuman attitude to a senior lawyer.

In a statement, the KP Bar Council alleged that the police officer had illegally taken senior lawyer Syed Burhan Shah Advocate to his office, confined him illegally and tortured him physically and mentally. The bar council recalled that the same police officer had recently misbehaved with Saghir Khan Advocate, a former president, Swabi Bar Association.

In the statement, the bar council demanded a departmental inquiry against the police officers and sought punishment to him under the law. The bar council condemned, what it said was, brutal action of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police against the peaceful protesting doctors in Peshawar.

 

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/534455-alleged-police-highhandedness-kp-lawyers-observe-strike

Lawyers continue strike, demand suspension of SDPO

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/535999-lawyers-in-chitral-protest-torture-of-colleague

https://www.dawn.com/news/1508257

Strike held in KP against police manhandling of Chitrali lawyer

https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/10/06/pakistan-end-ordeal-blasphemy-defendants

https://www.dw.com/en/junaid-hafeez-why-is-pakistani-scholars-blasphemy-case-receiving-scant-attention/a-50722310

http://www.kpbarcouncil.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khyber_Pakhtunkhwa_Bar_Council

DAY OF THE ENDANGERED LAWYER – 24 January 2020 – PAKISTAN

https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/06/22/pakistan-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-january-24-2020-pakistan/

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#Strike….

The Punjab Bar Council strongly condemns the untoward incident that took place in Distt Hospital Toba Tek Singh, on the instigation of Medical Superintendent DHQ T T Singh, in which the officials of the DHQ illegally & immorally detained the President & lawyers of Bar Association T T Singh. In condemnation of the aforesaid act and showing solidarity with the aggrieved lawyers of Toba Tek Singh the lawyers of Faisalabad division will observe a full day strike on 03-10-2019.

Ch Shah Nawaz Ismail Gujjar
Vice Chairman
Punjab Bar Council

Iftikhar Ibrahim Qureshi
Chairman Executive Committee
Punjab Bar Council.

(Punjab Bar Council Facebook, 02/10/19)

The Punjab Bar Council strongly condemns the untoward incident that took place in Distt Hospital Toba Tek Singh, on the instigation of Medical Superintendent DHQ T T Singh, in which the officials of the DHQ illegally & immorally detained the President Bar Association T T Singh.
The Punjab Bar Council also condemns the illegal, immoral & disgraceful act of the M S DHQ which warrants a criminal as well as a departmental inquiry against the culprits.

Ch Shah Nawaz Ismail Gujjar
Vice Chairman
Punjab Bar Council

Iftikhar Ibrahim Qureshi
Chairman Executive Committee
Punjab Bar Council.

(Punjab Bar Council Facebook, 01/10/19)

 

Day of the Endangered Lawyer

The Philippines: Murder attempt against Filipina human rights lawyer

October 5, 2019

Human Rights Group decries murder attempt against Filipina human rights lawyer

ICHRP OFFICIAL STATEMENT

The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) decries the ambush on Atty. Criselda Heredia while she was with her daughter and client last September 23, 2019. Fortunately, the three were physically uninjured as shots were fired into Heredia’s car by unidentified gunman on board a motorcycle. The incident happened in the municipality of Panit-an on the island of Panay, Central Philippines, around 11:30 am.

Heredia is a human rights lawyer and active in anti-mining campaigns on the island. As a member of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) she handles pro bono cases for farmers, human rights defenders and political prisoners.

According to NUPL, before the shooting, Heredia was red-tagged in posters and had been receiving death threats from unidentified men visiting her office. Human rights lawyer Atty. Benjamin Ramos was murdered on the nearby island of Negros last November 7, 2018. Before Ramos’ death, he was also red-tagged with name and face included in posters rolled out across the island.

“ICHRP condemns this outright attack against Filipino human rights lawyers. There is a clear pattern of vilification and harassments which then lead to political killings,” said Mr. Peter Murphy, chair of ICHRP’s Global Council. “This only shows the continuing climate of impunity and the worsening human rights situation in the Philippines under President Duterte”.

The attack on Atty Heredia brings to total for attacks on lawyers since President Duterte came to office in July 2016 to 61, with 49 killed and 12 survivors.

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1910/S00032/murder-attempt-against-filipina-human-rights-lawyer.htm

Roxas-based rights lawyer survives slay try

https://www.rappler.com/nation/241737-human-rights-group-urges-international-criminal-court-open-investigation-drug-war

Human right group files motion at ICC

https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/10/04/19/joint-un-international-court-probe-on-slays-under-duterte-administration-sought

https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/710477/victims-kin-file-additional-evidence-on-duterte-s-drug-war-at-icc/story/

Drug-war victims’ kin file 2nd ICC pleading

https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/09/30/filming-philippines-war-drugs

THE PHILIPPINES: ATTACKS AGAINST LAWYERS ESCALATING

https://lesad.be/the-philippines-attacks-against-lawyers-escalating/

Filipino human rights lawyer uninjured after gunmen ambush car

Filipino lawyers attacksed Sept 2019 (IAPL MONITORING COMMITTEE REPORT)

https://www.abogacia.es/2019/09/18/filipinas-aumentan-los-ataques-contra-los-abogados/ (ESPANOL)

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(L’Observatoire des Avocats Facebook, 05/10/19)

Pakistan/Day of the Endangered Lawyer: Lawyers on strike September 30th after lawyer assaulted

September 28, 2019

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(Punjab Bar Council Facebook, 29/09/19)

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2065225/1-global-bodies-worry-pakistani-lawyers-safety/

https://eldh.eu/2019/07/25/day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-24-january-2020-pakistan/

https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/06/22/pakistan-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-january-24-2020-pakistan/

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Pakistan/Day of the Endangered Lawyer: Global bodies worry over Pakistani lawyers’ safety

September 25, 2019

Day of the Endangered Lawyer

The international legal fraternity has expressed serious concerns over the security of lawyers in Pakistan.

International lawyers organisations including the International Association of People’s Lawyers and the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights have prepared a report highlighting the threats faced by Pakistani lawyers from fundamentalists and terrorists.

The report noted that at least 11 lawyers have been murdered in Pakistan since March 2018. Between 2004 and 2014, 310 lawyers were killed in five separate attacks.

Individuals including high-profile lawyer Saif-ul-Malook continues to face a high risk of death or physical harm.  Malook received death threats after his client was acquitted.

A less prominent case involves Shagufta Kauser and her disabled husband Shafqat Masih, who were accused of sending blasphemous text messages to a cleric. They have been imprisoned for five years now, face the death penalty and are also being represented by Malook.

Along with condemning the torture which Masih was subjected to at the hands of the police, Malook also expressed concerns that the judge who handed down the death sentence was intimidated by hard-line lawyers and religious leaders in the community.

Due to his representation of the people accused of committing blasphemy, Malook continues to receive death threats.

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2065225/1-global-bodies-worry-pakistani-lawyers-safety/

https://www.dawn.com/news/1507410

http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Pakistani-Supreme-Court-acquits-a-man-accused-of-blasphemy-after-18-years-in-prison-48125.html

https://www.worldwatchmonitor.org/2019/09/eu-envoys-threat-of-trade-sanctions-played-crucial-role-in-asia-bibis-freedom/

https://vomcanada.com/pk-2019-09-26.htm

Long read: The forgotten faces and hidden history of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asia_Bibi_blasphemy_case

DAY OF THE ENDANGERED LAWYER – 24 January 2020 – PAKISTAN

https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/06/22/pakistan-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-january-24-2020-pakistan/

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http://www.evangeliques.info/articles/2019/09/02/pakistan-asia-bibi-appelle-a-une-reforme-des-lois-sur-le-blaspheme-20282.html (FRANCAIS)

https://www.arte.tv/fr/afp/actualites/pakistan-un-condamne-mort-pour-blaspheme-acquitte-apres-18-ans-de-prison (FRANCAIS)

http://www.tynpanama.com/opinion/Pakistan-despues-de-18-anos-en-la-carcel-el-Tribunal-supremo-absuelve-a-un-hombre-acusado-de-blasfemia-h6689.html (ESPANOL)

https://www.repubblica.it/solidarieta/diritti-umani/2019/09/27/news/pakistan_dopo_18_anni_di_carcere_la_corte_suprema_assolve_un_uomo_accusato_di_blasfemia-237107605/ (ITALIANO)

https://www.vaticannews.va/de/welt/news/2019-09/pakistan-blasphemie-gesetze-gefangnis-gerechtigkeit-justiz.html (DEUTSCH)

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Pakistan/Day of the Endangered Lawyer: Lawyers strike is being observed today

August 26, 2019

Lawyers strike observed on August 26

The lawyers on Saturday announced observing a strike across the country on August 26 against the government references against judges, alleged harassment of legal fraternity and the Indian aggression in Kashmir.

The All Pakistan Lawyers Convention by Karachi Bar Association at the City Courts decided that the lawyers throughout the country as well as in Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir will boycott courts on Monday and hold protest meetings at the bar rooms.

A resolution was passed at the convention, saying the references against Supreme Court’s Justice Faez Isa and Sindh High Court’s Justice K.K. Agha were “frivolous, concocted and malafide” and are tantamount to an attempt to muzzle and subjugate the independence of the judiciary.

The lawyers demanded putting the petition filed by Justice Isa, the Pakistan Bar Council and the Supreme Court Bar Association against the references before a full court bench of the apex court for hearing by intelligible judges.

Criticizing the Supreme Judicial Council, they said they deprecated the language used against Justice Isa in the SJC Order disposing of reference no. 427 of 2019 and added the neutrality and impartiality of the SJC has come into question.

The lawyers also criticized Peshawar High Court’s contempt of court notice to the PBC vice-chairman Syed Amjad Shah and condemned the alleged forced disappearance of former vice president of Multan High Court Bar Association Wasif Naveed Qureshi.

Lawyers strike is being observed today

Lawyers Observe Countrywide Strike Today

https://pk.shafaqna.com/EN/AL/262690

https://fp.brecorder.com/2019/08/20190825511351/

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/518080-lawyers-observe-countrywide-strike

https://www.dawn.com/news/1501897/lawyers-boycott-courts-against-contempt-notice

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/518086-lhcba-lba-concerned-over-contempt-notice-to-pbc-vice-chairman

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/517919-contempt-notice-to-pbc-vice-chairman-kp-lawyers-observe-strike-some-say-none-above-law

https://fp.brecorder.com/2019/08/20190827512287/

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2043652/1-bench-bar-relationship-continues-fray/

DAY OF THE ENDANGERED LAWYER – 24 January 2020 – PAKISTAN

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Contempt notice issued by Chief Justice Peshawar High Court to Syed Amjad Ali Shah learned Vice Chairman Pakistan Bar Council on raising his voice against the induction of incompetent & ill reputed Judges.The purpose of issuing notice to esteemed Vice Chairman is to sabotage the Lawyers movement for the independence of the Judiciary.The Punjab Bar Council vividly decry this act. In condemnation of above, the Lawyers of Punjab would completely boycott the courts & would not appear in the Courts on 26-08-2019.

Ch. Shah Nawaz Ismail Gujjar
Vice Chairman
Punjab Bar Council

Mr. Iftikhar Ibrahim Qureshi
Chairman Executive Committee
Punjab Bar Council.

 

(Punjab Bar Council Facebook, 25/08/19)

 

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Day of the Endangered Lawyer