11/05/2007, 00.00
PAKISTAN
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Raid and arrests on the Lahore offices for Justice and Peace and the Human Rights Commission

by Qaiser Felix
Peter Jacob, executive secretary, National Bishop’s Commission for Justice and Peace, warns inviting all to stand firm against the military dictatorship. Nadeem Anthony, council member of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, phoned AsiaNews while he was being arrested. Since then there has been no news of his whereabouts.

Lahore (AsiaNews) – During the newly proclaimed state of emergency, soldiers from the Pakistani army have even attacked the offices of the  Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, arresting one of employees of the Bishop's Justice and Peace Commission,  Irfan Barkat. Travel and communication is difficult at the moment in Pakistan, so much so that many of the Commissions activities have been cancelled. The news was reported to AsiaNews by Peter Jacob, the commissions’ executive secretary.

According to Jacob, “the situation is very worrying: the commission is highly concerned by all that has taken place since Musharraf’s coup.  Pakistan’s private and foreign TV news channels have been taken off air whereas State run Television is on air to propagate in favour of the General Musharraf”.

The state of emergency, he continues, “to curb the militants and extremists but practically they are arresting moderate human rights activists, secular and democratic people. We are monitoring the situation and having consultations to adopt the best possible strategy, but we have to keep continue our struggle against the military rule and for the restoration of a real democracy in the country”.

Among those arrested Nadeem Anthony, council member of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, who phoned AsiaNews during the police raid on his offices.  He confirmed that “over 50 people from the commission among them many women have been taken”.  Immediately after the order to end the phone call could be heard down the line, since then there has been no further news.  

 

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