Asma Jahangir's Detention

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UN Special Rapporteur released from house arrest in Pakistan

Copies of Ms Jahangir’s Detention Order

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UN SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR RELEASED FROM HOUSE ARREST ON FRIDAY 16 NOVEMBER 2007:

The office of Ms Asma Jahangir, based at the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva has been glad to confirm that the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief was released on Friday morning 16 November, after nearly 2 weeks of house arrest. During this time her residence was encircled and filled with police.

As chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Ms Jahangir had a 90 day preventive detention order served on her late on Saturday 3 November. (You can read a copy of this below).

UN spokesman Jose-Luis Diaz told journalists in Geneva on Friday 16 November “we are very happy” about her release. In preceding days, both UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour appealed for her freedom.

On 8 November, the Foreign Secretary and Lord Malloch-Brown met with Ms Jahangir's sister -Ms Hina Jilani, the UN Special Representative of the
UN Secretary General on Human Rights Defenders, to be briefed on the situation.

Ms Jilani -the sister of Ms Jahangir faced similar immediate arrest and a 90 day detention if she returned to Pakistan.

In Mr Diaz's press briefing on 16 November, he went on to call for the immediate release of all “human rights defenders and others who have been imprisoned or detained for the peaceful expression of beliefs or exercising their activities” within Pakistan.

The release of Ms Jahangir, and twice serving former Prime Minister Ms Benazir Bhutto, coincided with the arrival of US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte.

Both he and the British High Commission in Islamabad have been calling for the release of the thousands of lawyers, politicians, and human rights activists who remain in detention, and raising concerns about their welfare and safety.

Please go on lobbying on behalf of figures who do not enjoy such a high international profile as Ms Jahangir. On Sunday 4 November, police raided, for example, the offices of the HRCP in Lahore and arrested 55 of its members, including Ms Jahangir's colleagues, Secretary General Syed Igbal Haider and Executive Director I.A. Rehman.

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Detention Order served on Ms Jahangir:

Link to a scanned copy of the Rapporteur's actual detention order:

http://www.teeth.com.pk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/house-arrest-order.JPG

(Note: The text in the JPEG file becomes clearer if magnified).

A copy of the decipherable text from the scanned copy of her detention order (including original errors):

NO.SO(IS-1)3-43/2007

GOVERNMENT OF THE PUNJAB

HOME DEPARTMENT

Dated Lahore the 3rd November, 2007

ORDER:

WHEREAS, the Government of the Punjab is satisfied that the activities of Asma Jehangir Advocate r/o 21-Main Boulevard Gulberg Lahore are prejudicial to public safety and maintenance of public order, therefore, it is necessary to prevent him from acting in such a manner.

2 NOW THEREFORE, in exercise of the powers conferred on it under sub-section (1) of section-3 of the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance 1960, the Government of the Punjab is pleased to direct that Asma Jehangir shall be arrested and detained at her above mentioned residence (declared as sub-jail) for a period of 90-days with immediate effect from the date of entering into sub-jail.

 

3 The grounds of the above order are as under:-

i) That you have been inviting and holding meetings with different elements of society and instigating them to defy the lawful order of the government which will result in disruption of peace and may result in serious law and order situation.

 

ii) There is credible information that you will deliver inflammatory speeches for instigating the general public in violation of restriction under section 144 Cr.P.C.

 

iii) That your activities have been found prejudicial to public safety and maintenance of public order.

 

iv) That continuance of your above mentioned activities are likely to create unrest in the public and threat to the law & order situation, thus giving rise to a situation prejudicial to the public safety and maintenance of public order, hence this order.

4 You are at liberty to make a representation to the Government against this order.

 

KHUSRO PERVAIZ KHAN

SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE PUNJAB

HOME DEPARTMENT

NO. & DATE EVEN

A copy is forwarded for information and immediate necessary action to:-

  1. The Provincial Police Officer, Punjab, Lahore, for service upon the detenu.....   One copy of the order duly received by the detenu and attested by the servicing officer may be sent to this Department for record
  2. The Inspector General of Prisons, Punjab Lahore
  3. The Capital City Police Officer, Lahore
  4. The Sr Superintendent of Police (Operations) Lahore
  5. The Superintendent, Central Jail Lahore

 

(Signed)

 

SECTION OFFICER (IS-1)

HOME DEPARTMENT

 

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AN OVERVIEW OF THE situation in Pakistan:

(Summarised information from a Commons briefing given by the Foreign Secretary on 7.11.07):

On 3 November, President Musharraf declared a state of emergency and the suspension of Pakistan's Constitution. He issued a new Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO), the two key features of which are:

  • the suspension of Constitutional articles guaranteeing security of the person, safeguards on arrest and detention, freedom of movement, assembly, association and speech, and equality of citizens; and,
  • the removal of the Supreme Court's authority to issue any order against the President, Prime Minister or any person exercising powers or jurisdiction under their authority, or to challenge the PCO.

The President has also taken measures to tighten regulation of all forms of media forbidding them from criticising the Head of State, military or judiciary, showing bodies of suicide bombers or their victims or broadcasting anything “prejudicial to the maintenance of law and order”.

Another effect of the PCO has been to suspend all the Supreme Court judges pending their taking a new oath of allegiance. Fewer than half of the present bench of nineteen judges have taken the new oath. The former Chief Justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry, and fourteen of his colleagues have been dismissed. Hundreds of other civil society leaders and political activists have been detained or placed under house arrest.

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Tracking the detentions story -useful web links:

 

Useful links:

http://www.un.org/apps/sg/sgstats.asp?nid=2838

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=24527&Cr=Pakistan&Cr1=

http://www.unhchr.ch/huricane/huricane
.nsf/view01/309BA28D0CEB28AEC125738A003BF847?opendocument

http://www.unhchr.ch/huricane/huricane
.nsf/view01/7DF78498F2D46F7BC125738D005AC5A3?opendocument

http://www.un.org/News/briefings/docs/2007/db071113.doc.htm

http://www.fco.gov.uk/servlet/Front
?pagename=OpenMarket/Xcelerate/ShowPage&c=Page&cid=1007029391638

http://www.fco.gov.uk/servlet/Front
?pagename=OpenMarket/Xcelerate/ShowPage&c=Page&cid
=1007029391638&a=KArticle&aid=1194345820779

http://www.fco.gov.uk/servlet/Front?
pagename=OpenMarket/Xcelerate/ShowPage&c
=Page&cid=1007029391638&a=KArticle&aid=1194344662231

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/11/14/1437241

http://www.reuters.com/article/asiaCrisis/idUSL16400879

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