Islamabad Politics Report/Moazzam Raza Tabassam: Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Friday condemned a ‘burglary-style raid’ in Lahore on the house of its editor of the ‘State of Human Rights’ report.
In a press release on Friday, HRCP said, “At about 8.45 pm (on Thursday), two armed men broke into the house of Ms Maryam Hasan, editor of HRCP’s annual report, and took away her laptop, two hard drives and two mobile phones, as well as some jewelry and cash.”
It was added that the armed men “told Hasan that they had also come the day before, but not committed burglary since she had not been at home”.
The ‘burglars’ questioned Ms Hasan about her professional engagements and intimidated her in a roundabout manner before finally leaving at 10 pm, the release said.
The Chairperson of HRCP Mehdi Hasan said the commission “suspects that the two suave raiders were no ordinary thieves”. He called on Punjab government to apprehend the culprits and establish their identity.
“HRCP will hold the provincial authorities responsible for any attempt by state or non-state actors to harass any persons associated with the Commission,” he concluded.
“Freedom of expression and freedom of association is under attack, except for those who carry the religious banner,” commission spokesman IA Rehman said at the release of the report, which accused authorities of ignoring “intolerance and extremism.”
The HRCP’s annual report, released last week, highlighted an increase in enforced disappearances and targeted violence against soft targets and raised the issue of curbs on freedoms of expression while appreciating legal progress in other aspects of human rights in Pakistan.
The report said that 313 cases of missing persons received by the missing persons commission still remain unresolved and that 2017 was a troubling year for journalists and bloggers.
“Journalists and bloggers continue to sustain threats, attacks and abductions and blasphemy law serves to coerce people into silence,” the report said.
The HRCP, established in 1987, monitors human rights violations in the country. It seeks to report and address the violations through public campaigns, lobbying and intervention in courts.