Pakistan rights body condemns raid on editor of critical report

HRCP said rights activist Maryam Hasan’s house in Lahore was raided by men who questioned her about her professional engagements and intimidated her.

world Updated: Apr 20, 2018 23:28 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
Pakistan,human rights,Maryam Hasan
In this Monday, April 16, 2018 photo Maryam Hasan shows the Human Rights Commission Report 2017 in Islamabad, Pakistan. (AP)

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Friday condemned a "burglary-style raid" on the house of its consultant, Maryam Hasan, who edited the recently released annual report on the state of human rights in Pakistan.

In a statement, HRCP stated the house of Hasan, who lives alone in Lahore, was raided on Thursday night during a burglary that lasted for more than an hour. The two “burglars” took away Hasan’s laptop, phones, two hard disc drives, jewellery and some cash.

"They told Hasan, who lives alone, that they had also come the day before, but not committed burglary since she had not been at home," the statement said. "They questioned Hasan about her professional engagements and intimidated her in a roundabout manner" before leaving.

"HRCP suspects that the two suave raiders were no ordinary thieves and calls on the government of Punjab to apprehend the culprits and establish their identity. HRCP will hold the provincial authorities responsible for any attempt by state or non-state actors to harass any persons associated with the commission," the statement added.

Established in 1987, the HRCP is an NGO monitoring human rights violations across Pakistan and seeking remedies through public campaigns, lobbying and intervention in courts.

Released last week, its damning report titled State of Human Rights in 2017 highlighted an increase in enforced disappearances and targeted violence against soft targets, and raised the issue of curbs on freedoms of expression and association. It also appreciated the legal progress in other aspects of human rights in Pakistan.

The report said 313 cases of “missing persons” received by an official commission remained unresolved and that 2017 was a troubling year for journalists and bloggers. “Journalists and bloggers continue to sustain threats, attacks and abductions and the blasphemy law serves to coerce people into silence,” the report said.

First Published: Apr 20, 2018 23:25 IST