Further information on UA: 139/12 Index: ASA 33/007/2012 Pakistan Date: 1 June 2012
POLITICIANS GIVEN PROTECTION BUT MORE NEEDED
Following an Urgent Action issued by Amnesty International on 11 May, additional security has been ordered for regional parliamentarians Saleem Khursheed Khokhar and Pitamber Sewani. They had been receiving threats for campaigning against forced conversions and marriages from the Hindu minority community in Sindh province, Pakistan. Hindu communities in Sindh continue to face persecution and attacks. Pakistani authorities must ensure perpetrators of these attacks are brought to justice.
Amnesty International issued an Urgent Action on 11 May calling on Pakistan’s authorities to provide adequate protection to Saleem Khursheed Khokhar a Christian Member of the Sindh Provincial Assembly (MPA), after he was threatened for defending the rights of the minority Hindu community. On 12 May Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah ordered additional security for Saleem Khursheed Khokhar and Hindu MPA Pitamber Sewani who has also received threats for defending the human rights of minority groups.
Saleem Khursheed Khokhar and Pitamber Sewani have welcomed the protection but highlighted concerns that the security detail provided by the Sindh authorities has not been sufficiently vetted, especially in light of recent assassinations of other politicians for defending minorities rights by their own body guards. Saleem Khursheed Khokhar and Pitamber Sewani state that the authorities have yet to find the individuals who carried out the threats against them despite detailed complaints being lodged with the police and orders from Chief Minister Shah for intelligence authorities to investigate. Saleem Khursheed Khokhar and Pitamber Sewani are concerned that no action will be taken against the perpetrators without more public pressure.
Providing adequate physical security to defenders of human rights and bringing perpetrators of threats against them to justice is necessary to protect them from immediate harm. It is also a critical first step towards tackling the wider issue of attacks and other forms of discrimination against minorities.
Please write immediately in English, Urdu or your own language calling on the authorities to:
Ensure that adequate protection is provided for Saleem Khursheed Khokhar and Pitamber Sewani and their families at all times. This includes ensuring that guards provided are properly vetted;
Promptly investigate all threats received by Saleem Khursheed Khokhar and Pitamber Sewani, and by anyone involved in campaigning against forced conversions and forced marriages;
Bring to justice anyone responsible for threats and other abuse against religious minorities, including forced conversion and forced marriage, in trials which meet international standards of fairness.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 13 JULY 2012 TO:
Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani
Prime Minister House
Salutation: Dear Prime Minister
Chief Minister, Sindh
Qaim Ali Shah
Interior Minister of Sindh
Dr. Zia ud Din Ahmed Road
Fax: +92 21 992 02000
Salutation: Dear Chief Minister Shah
Inspector General Sindh Police
Mushtaq Shah�Sindh Police
Head Office I. I. Chundrigar Road
Fax: +92 21 99 212 051
Salutation: Dear Mr Shah
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.