Rangers report on rights violations declared fake
ISLAMABAD – The Senate Human Rights Committee yesterday challenged the bonafides of the Human Rights Commission South Asia whose report about the operation in Karachi had been flaunted by the Rangers during the Committee’s previous meeting as ‘proof’ of its complying with human rights obligations during operations in Karachi.
At the meeting of the Senate Committee late last month the Rangers representative had flaunted a report of what he claimed as Sweden-based Human Rights Committee South Asia endorsing the Rangers led operation as complying with human rights standards. It was challenged by Senator Farhatullah Babar who demanded complete information about it.
At yesterday’s meeting of the Senate Committee, the Rangers gave the website of the Human Rights Committee of South Asia as www.hrcsa.org but its representative did not attend the meeting, said a statement issued here.
Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the Rangers had allowed itself to be misled into taking refuge behind the report of an unknown human rights body that appeared to be fake.
The lawmaker said he visited the site and found the names of journalist Rahimullah Yousafzai as its Afghanistan correspondent and one Hilal Usmani as its so-called Sindh correspondent.
He said that on contacting Rahimullah Yousufzai denied having any links whatsoever with the said Human Rights Committee South Asia let alone working as its Afghanistan correspondent as claimed in the website. He said that several emails sent at the address of Hilal Usmani bounced back as undelivered.
This clearly seems to be a fake organisation which has taken upon itself the task to whitewash the human rights violations by law enforcing agencies on selective basis, he said.
Senator Babar said the matter be referred to the Ministry of Information Technology and other investigation agencies to probe into it and expose the elements behind it.
The issue was not merely that the Senate committee had been misled by flaunting the report of a fake organisation but the issue was that someone had misled the Rangers into a trap that had destroyed its credibility, he added.
“People will no longer believe in the tall claims of achievements of Rangers nor in its protestations of innocence of human rights violations,” he said.
The senator said if for nothing else, at least for the sake of credibility of the military dominated Rangers the matter needs to be investigated. The committee decided to refer the matter to the investigation agencies.
Online adds: The Senate Committee also decided to get opinion of various legal experts, religious scholars, Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) and other concerned institutions about strategy to check the misuse of blasphemy and to review the procedure in this regard.
The meeting of the committee was held in the Parliament House with Senator Nasreen Jalil in chair on Tuesday.
In the meeting, the Chairman National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) Justice (r) Ali Nawaz Chohan presented the report of the commission about the procedure of amendments in blasphemy law and told the meeting that investigation of blasphemy cases should be conducted by a superintendent of police level official and such cases be heard by the sessions judge rather than additional sessions judge only.
The chairman NCHR said that complainant who registers fake blasphemy cases should also awarded sentences. He added that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) had pardoned a woman who used to throw garbage before him.
Majority of the senators including Farhatullah Babar, Kabir Ahmed, Nisar Muhammad, Samina Abid, Barrister Saif, Sehar Kamran and Sitara Ayaz favoured the procedure evolved to check the misuse of blasphemy and to improve the existing laws in this regard.
Senator Mufti Sattarullah said that there was no need to make amendment in blasphemy law and suggested to send the law to CII.
The committee had consensus to further debate and review the procedure to check the misuse of blasphemy in its upcoming meeting.
The committee expressed concern over the absence of Inspector General of Balochistan Police and provincial interior secretary in the meeting.
The NCHR chairman told the committee that funds were not being released for the salaries of commission’s employees and even the commission had no fund for the maintenance of its official vehicle.
The committee directed the Ministry of Human Rights to immediately release the funds to NCHR for the payments of salaries to its employees.