Pakistan: Gunshot attack against Mr. Imran Anjum

19/05/2017
Urgent Appeal

PAK 001 / 0517 / OBS 057
Physical assault /
Harassment
Pakistan
May 19, 2017

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Pakistan.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the gunshot attack against human rights defender Mr. Imran Anjum, the founder and Executive Director of Peaceful & Active Center for Humanity (PEACH) [1]. Over the past 12 years, Mr. Anjum has advocated for the defence of bonded labourers in the brick-kiln sector of Pakistan, and is presently focusing on the rights of bonded labourers in Punjab.

According to the information received, on May 8, 2017, at around 8 pm, two unidentified masked men broke into Mr. Imran Anjum’s house in Habib Town, Sahiwal, and opened fire on him. Mr. Imran Anjum was shot twice. Chased by the neighbours, the unidentified men managed to escape. This shooting happened in a context of continued threats and acts of harassment against Mr. Imran Anjum for his work as a human rights defender, namely regarding labour rights (See background information).

A few days before this incident, on May 4, 2017, Mr. Imran Anjum and his co-workers had held a demonstration demanding justice for Mr. Mashal Khan, a 23-year-old Pashtun and Muslim student at Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan, Pakistan, who was killed by a vigilante mob in the University’s premises on April 13, 2017 [2]. At the end of the demonstration, Mr. Imran Anjum was followed up to his home by two unidentified men on motorbikes.

On May 8, 2017, Mr. Anjum submitted an application with the Farid Town Police Station, district of Sahiwal, to register both a complaint and a First Information Report (FIR). Although his complaint was successfully registered on May 12, 2017, Mr. Anjum is still waiting for the registration of the FIR as well as adequate investigations and protection measures.

The Observatory strongly condemns the above-mentioned attack against Mr. Imran Anjum, and calls for a prompt, effective, transparent, and impartial investigation into those events. The Observatory more generally urges the Pakistani authorities to guarantee in all circumstances his physical and psychological integrity.

Background information:

This is not the first time Mr. Anjum has been attacked in relation to his human rights activities. On May 20, 2016, a group of brick kiln owners displayed banners around the city of Gojra, Punjab State, calling him ’a blasphemer’ and demanding his execution.

These threats followed an attack on May 9, 2016, when Mr. Imran Anjum, along with two of his colleagues, was travelling home to Sahiwal from a conference in Gojra devoted to the protection of the rights of brick kiln workers. Two men on motorbikes chased his car, forcibly stopped him, dragged him and his colleagues out of the vehicle, and threatened them with death if they did not stop their labour rights work or if they went back to Gojra. On that same day, Mr. Anjum filed a complaint with the Deputy Superintendent of Police of Gojra, requesting to register an FIR and open an investigation into that attack. However, police did not take any action.

On May 16, 2012, along with other four human rights defenders, Mr. Imran Anjum was beaten at Arifwala Tehsil court premises by Iftikhar Mahar, a kiln owner, and his lawyers, while defending the rights of brick kiln workers. On May 31, 2012, Mr. Imran Anjum was convicted on charges of “attempted murder” and “blasphemy” registered by the brick kiln owners in Arifwala City of Pakpattan District. He spent 45 days in detention.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Pakistan asking them to:

i. Undertake a thorough, impartial, and transparent criminal investigation into the threats and assault against Mr. Imran Anjum in order to identify those responsible, bring them before a competent and impartial tribunal, and apply the sanctions provided by law;

ii. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Imran Anjum and all human rights defenders in Pakistan;

iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment - including at the judicial level - against Mr. Imran Anjum and all human rights defenders in Pakistan, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their activities without hindrances;

iv. Comply with all the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular with its Articles 1 and 12.2;

v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards.

Addresses:

• Mr Mamnoon Hussain, President of Pakistan; Fax: +92 51 920 8479; Email: secretary@president.gov.pk
• Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan; Fax: +92 51 922 0404; Email: info@pmo.gov.pk
• Mr. Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Interior Minister of Pakistan; Fax: +92 51 920 2624; Email: interior.complaintcell@gmail.com
• Ambassador Farukh Amil, Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland; Fax:022 734 80 85; Email: mission.pakistan@ties.itu.int

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Pakistan in your respective countries.

***
Paris-Geneva, May 19, 2017

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and OMCT. The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
• E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
• Tel and fax FIDH + 33 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
• Tel and fax OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

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