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Event Title: Senator Walid Iqbal Presides over a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights

Event Date: 2022-08-17

The Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights on Wednesday severely condemned the arrest and proceedings against Ms.  Saira Zafar, wife of Izhar Ullah Khan and her family. The committee was of the view that grave and serious violation of Human Rights has been committed and unanimously urged to withdraw the case against them. The Inspector General of Police Islamabad said that the bail application has been accepted and the court has granted bail to the accused. The High Court has referred the matter to the session court for trail. The committee unanimously urged for the trail to be withdrawn against Saira Zafar and her family .The Senate Human Rights Committee which met under the Chairmanship of Senator Walid Iqbal here at the Parliament House today, to receive a briefing by the Ministry of Human Rights, Ministry of Interior and Inspector General of Police Islamabad, on the application received from Malik Zafar Iqbal as father of Ms. Saira Zafar, wife of Izhar Ullah Khan regarding her arrest and police raid in the early hours of Thursday, 11th August 2022, purportedly in search of Dr. Shahbaz Gill’s mobile phone and laptop.

In response to the questionnaire put up by the Human Rights Committee the Inspector General of Police Islamabad Mr Akbar Nasir Khan briefed the committee that an FIR No. 694, dated 11-08-2022 of PS Aabpara Islamabad was registered against Ms. Saira Zafar and her Brother Malik Noman Raza and they were charged under section 353( Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharging of his duty) section 186 Obstructing public servants in discharge of Public Functions) Section 382( Theft after preparation made causing death, hurt or restrained in order to committing after theft) section 506( Criminal Intimidation) section 147( Rioting) sector 149 (Every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offense committed in prosecution of common object) of Pakistan Penal Code. On the question that under which provision of law can relatives of a person wanted for committing an offence particularly spouse and mother of a ten-month old child be arrested, the IG Police said that no person can be arrested on the basis of his relationship with accused of any case, however, the police may arrest any person who is found to be involved in any criminal charge. On the question whether the arrest of House wife and mother, who is not an accomplice or required in any case constitutes a violation of article 9 (dealing with security of person) article 10 (dealing with safeguards as to arrest and detention and article 14 (dealing with their inviolability of dignity of man) of the constitution of Pakistan, said that any person could be arrested if he/she is to be involved in violation or offense and hence, no constitutional violation has been committed by the local Police in respect of arrest of the accused person as the accused used criminal force while assaulting the police party and made obstruction in discharge of their lawful duty which constitutes to an offence as per Pakistan Penal Code 1860.  The Inspector General Police said that the matter is under active investigation and has to be dealt at an appropriate forum in an appropriate manner and will be dealt as per law, “The matter is to be left with the court of law” stated IG Police. The IG Police also objected on the presence of the accused at such a forum and said that the Police department should be pre-intimated whether the accused will be present in the committee.

The Chairman Committee said that the soul objective of the committee is to protect and safeguard the basic rights of the people irrespective of religion caste or creed. He said that “arrest and search” without warrant, being moved from one police station to another blinded folded and locked up without offense are grave violations of Human Rights.  Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed said that the sanctity of home and privacy has been violated within the Federal Capital in order to search for a missing smart phone which is severely condemned above party lines. Human Rights committee is not about politics it’s about people of Pakistan “we do not defend the indispensible over political scoring” he said. Senator Irfan-ul Haque siddiqui said that he acknowledges the way the committee has taken prompt notice of the violation “such actions should be based on equality and should not be person specific or party specific” he further stated. Senator Seemee Ezdi and Senator irfal-ul-haque siddiqui recommended visiting Adyala jail and taking inspection on the number of similar cases and hygiene of the jails.

The Chairperson National Commission of Human Rights said that 80pc of women in Pakistan are under trail including those who are mothers of suckling babies. She said that legislation should be formulated on bailable and non-bailable offenses to safe and protect the rights of the woman of similar cases like that of Saira Zafar. The Minister for Human Rights Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada said that the law of torts is already intact, and condemned the arrest of Saira Zafar, adding that the proceedings should be withdrawn once the investigation is completed and the accused are proved innocent.

The meeting was attended by Senators Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Muhammad Tahir Bizinjo, Falak Naz, Semee Ezdi, Gurdeep Singh and Senator Irfan-ul-Haque SIddiqui. Minister for Human Rights, Chair Person National Commission of Human rights, Inspector general of Police Islamabad and other senior officials were also in attendance.