HRCP seeks release of two Hindu traders -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

HRCP seeks release of two Hindu traders

KARACHI: The office bearers of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan have expressed concern over the disappearance of at least two minority Hindu community members. She said such disappearances would not go down well with the efforts being made by the government at the international level to promote a soft image globally. The HRCP demanded that if they were wanted in any case they be arrested officially and tried in open court otherwise they be released immediately. In a statement issued here on Tuesday, the HRCP Vice Chairperson Zohra Yusuf said 55-year-old Gordhan Das alias G. M. Bhagat was reportedly picked up by four personnel in plain clothes of a law enforcement agency.

They were riding in a double cabin government vehicle near his residence opposite the Sessions Court, Umerkot district on Sept 9, 2006. His whereabouts were still not known. She said another Hindu community member Cheetan Kumar was apparently arrested as a “terror suspect” in 2001 and sentenced by the Special Anti Terrorism Court Hyderabad. He was reportedly severely tortured and abused while in custody. He was later acquitted by the Sindh High Court in 2005. She said eight personnel of a law enforcement agency reportedly arrived at Cheetan Kumar’s house in Bajeer Mohalla in Umerkot district in a government vehicle in July 2006 and he and his son subjected to severed torture before Cheetan Kumar was taken away.

His family reported the matter to Umerkot police and requested that a FIR be lodged, but the police refused to do so. Since then, the whereabouts of Mr Kumar remain unknown. Ms Yusuf said she had pointed just a few cases, whereas the HRCP continued to receive numerous reports from all over the country regarding “such disappearances” in which people are picked up by law enforcement agencies and the relatives search in vain to know about their whereabouts. She said if such people were wanted in any investigation, they should be formally arrested and presented in court, and the relatives be informed so they can hire lawyers and they get a proper hearing. The HRCP official said picking up a citizen without providing any information to the relatives or not presenting a citizen in court was a violation of human rights and against the constitution. It was also against various international conventions signed by the government to protect human rights of its citizens.
Source: Dawn
Date:12/27/2006