June 22, 2017
Pakistani authorities need to ensure a prompt, impartial and effective investigation into a barrage of assaults and threats against lawyers in the premises of the Lahore High Court, the ICJ, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said today.
The Government needs to defend the rule of law and prosecute those responsible for any criminal conduct.
On 20 June, during proceedings of a case involving the alleged abduction and subsequent “disappearance” of a 26-year old woman and her two-year old son, supporters of the accused, a prominent lawyer, physically assaulted the complainant’s counsel Shabbir Hussain and Usama Malik, and made abusive remarks and threats against another member of the complainant’s legal team, Noor Ejaz Chaudhry.
The attackers were mostly lawyers and members of the local bar association.
The attackers also made abusive and threatening remarks against Asma Jahangir (photo), a notable human rights lawyer, Honorary Commissioner of the ICJ, and former President of the Supreme Court Bar Association.
Asma Jahangir was not present in the court but was represented by her legal team comprising of Shabbir Hussain, Usama Malik, Mian Liaquat Ali and Noor Ejaz Chaudhry.
“The legal profession is one of the pillars of the administration of justice. It is deeply worrying that instead of discharging their responsibility to uphold the rule of law, certain lawyers would resort to threats and violence in a clear attempt to obstruct justice,” said Ian Seiderman, ICJ’s Legal and Policy Director.
June 16, 2017
Oral Statement to the 35th Session of the UN Human Rights Council from Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), NGO in special consultative status
Pakistan and Cameroon: Systematic failure to ensure protection of lawyers and defenders
Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada is gravely concerned about situations in Pakistan and Cameroon requiring the Council’s attention due to systematic failure to ensure protection of lawyers and human rights defenders.
In Pakistan, hundreds of jurists, court officials and defenders have been attacked and summarily executed by armed non-state individuals or mobs over the past decade including dozens killed in the past year alone. Pakistan has failed to exercise its duty to investigate and remedy these attacks and has failed to provide effective protective measures.
In Cameroon, dozens of civilians, including jurists, academics, journalists and other defenders are being taken before a military tribunal in violation of international human rights law. Denied fair trial rights, they face capital charges for exercising rights to freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and political participation.
For defenders in both Pakistan and Cameroon, there has been no access to effective remedies for these violations. Also, within existing mechanisms of the UN human rights system there appears to be no means by which victims or their advocates can obtain recommendations for protective or remedial measures on an urgent basis.
June 13, 2017
The lawyers on Monday boycotted the court proceedings against the attack on their colleague in a clash between a litigant and a court employee. It was learnt that a court employee Islamuddin Piyada clashed with a retired deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Habibur Rahman on the court premises as he came out of the courtroom after appearing in a case against him.
The litigants and lawyers present on the occasion tried to disengage the two and end the fighting in which a lawyer Altaf Gohar suffered a punch on his face. Following the incident, the lawyers staged a protest and boycotted the court proceedings. Later, the office-bearers of the District Bar Association at a meeting demanded an appropriate action against Islamuddin and announced boycott.
June 6, 2017
Today at about 10:00 am Mr. Tabish Shamoun aged about 24 years and driver of Ms. Jacqueline Sultan who is underground due to life threat by the religious extreme elements was traveling from Hyderabad to Karachi in Suzuki Alto No. AKW-820 whereby he was forcibly stopped by the two unknown bike riders nearby Sikandarabad Kotri and they harassed him on gun point and asked regarding whereabouts of Jacqueline Sultan upon which he said he is unaware about Jacqueline Sultan and response to which the said unknown persons beaten Tabish Shamoun very brutally and also damaged car by saying that they will approach to Jacqueline Sultan at any cost.
Jacqueline Sultan Advocate is under constant threat of extremist Muslim groups on her continuous legal support to victims of persecution.
She received threat letters which were duly condemned by her coworkers and lawyer bodies of Sindh but government not provided her security on which she is under hiding in undisclosed location for safety of her life.
The extremist elements attacked her driver today to force him to tell them location of Jacqueline Sultan Advocate.
June 6, 2017
The lawyers community in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Monday observed complete boycott of courts to protest the diatribe of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Nehal Hashmi against the judiciary.
Senator Nehal Hashmi in a speech had warned that those conducting the investigation against the Sharif family would be taken to task.
Nehal Hashmi had resigned from the Senate hours after a video of his speech went viral. On the call of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council, the lawyers observed complete boycott of courts across the province to protest the statement of Nehal Hashmi.
In the provincial metropolis, the lawyers observed complete boycott of courts.President of Peshawar High Court Bar Association Arbab Muhammad Usman told The News that they observed the strike on the call of KP Bar Council.
June 2, 2017
Christian Lawyer and Human Rights Activist Ms. Jacqueline Sultan phoned her friend from unknown place and said that no one government officer / department has contacted her after receiving death threat letter from unknown persons wherein she has been warned that she will be killed if she did not stop her work and compelled to live in hide.
She said is this my fault that I am supporting and helping the victims of forced marriages, forced conversion and false accused of blasphemy law in and outside the court.
She said the extremists want to killed my likewise they have killed Federal Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, Ex-Governor Punjab Salman Taseer and my close friend Ex Minority MPA Malik Atta who all discussed this serious issue openly.
She said the Government of Sindh approved the bill of forced conversion and forced marriages but on the pressure of extremists and religious parties and the government step back. She said I voiced for this issue.
She said I requested all concerned authorities but no any help has been provided to me even the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan requested concerned SHO, Chief CPLC Hon’ble CM Sindh, Human Rights Minister Sindh, IG Sindh to provided police protection but still I am waiting for security and help from these agencies. (Letter enclosed).
Pakistani Lawyer Rashid Rehman and Aliya Shehzad who were also voicing against blasphemy law and helping the victims have been murdered. Police is not providing me security because they do not want to allow me work openly.
Since the threats have been revived my office is closed and I am not living at my home.
She said due to this scenario, I have two options either I suicide or may be killed by the extremists and killer will become national hero likewise Mumtaz Qadri.
May 31, 2017
The legal fraternity in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Tuesday observed complete strike across the province to protest the killing of their colleague in Mardan district.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council had given the call to protest the killing of senior lawyer Zaib Alam Khan in Mardan. On the other hand, there are reports that he was gunned down by his close relatives over a land dispute in Mardan.
Like other districts, lawyers in the provincial metropolis also observed complete boycott of courts. The lawyers leaders including Muhammad Sareer Khan, vice-chairman KP Bar Council, and its members Muhammad Ijaz Sabi, Noor Alam Khan, PHC Bar Association President Arbab Muhammad Usman, general secretary Rahmanullah Khan, Peshawar Bar Association president Fazal Wahid condemned the lawyer’s killing and demanded immediate arrest of the culprits. They asked the provincial government to provide security to the lawyer community which was under attack as many lawyers have been killed in the province.