PAKISTAN: Fisher folk activist suffers an illegal raid by the Rangers

Posted on | februari 14, 2012 | No Comments

Area constituting Pakistan in dark green; claimed but uncontrolled territory in light green

Chairman-PFF Mr. M Ali Shah speaking to the audience

February 13, 2012

Ms. Nadia Gabol
Minister for Human Rights
Government of Sindh,
Pakistan secretariat, Barrack 92,
Karachi, Sindh Province
Fax: +92 21 9207044
Tel: +92 21 9207043 +92 21 9207043 +92 21 9207043 +92 21 9207043

Re: PAKISTAN: Fisher folk activist suffers an illegal raid by the Rangers

Dear Ms. Nadia Gabol,

Name of victims:
Mr. Muhammad Ali Shah,
Chairman Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF)
Gen. Secretary World Forum of Fisher People (WFFP)
Karachi, Pakistan

.Resident of Ibrahim Hyderi, Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan

Names of alleged perpetrators:
Lt. Col. Jawaid and the Rangers Officers on duty on February 9, 2012

Date of incident: 9th February 2012..
Place of incident: The house of the victim, Ibrahim Hyderi, Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan.

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the harassment and illegal, gratuitous raid at the house of Mr. Muhammad Ali Shah by the Rangers. Mr. Shah is a fisher folk activist and human rights defender and the chairperson of a very prominent civil society organization Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum. A troop of around twenty-five Rangers raided Mr. Shah’s house on the 9 February.

According to the information I received, On Thursday 9 February, 2012 around 7pm in the evening, Mr. Shah out of the spirit of camaraderie participated in a protest organised by the labourers of M/S MASCO (A Germen Garments Factory situated in Ibrahim Hyderi, Karachi) against the unjust and inhuman working conditions imposed by the management.
The peaceful protesters suffered a brutal crack including being fired upon from the upper floors of the building and also by direct firing by the MASCO Security team resulting in many casualties. Moreover a number of protesters were then abducted by the police. They were given no reason for their arrest. Mr. Shah condemned the criminal and inhuman acts of the factory management and unlawful support of the Police. He talked to the officials and had the labourers released.

This act of kindness towards the poor labourers infuriated the factory owner and he contacted one of his friends in the rangers named Lt. Col. Jawaid.

I am informed that the Rangers already had a grudge against Mr. Shah due to his campaign against the contract system that led the Rangers to take control of various water bodies thereby preventing the fisher folk from carrying out their occupation. Lt. Col. Jawaid therefore wasted no time in taking up his friend’s unofficial complaint. The same evening he phoned Mr. Muhammad Ali Shah, abused him verbally and threatened him with kidnapping and death. He warned Mr, Shah to keep himself away from social work or get ready to bear the harsh consequences. Mr. Shah clarified him that he was not undertaking any unlawful acts and that he was only showing support to the people who are deprived, marginalized and victims of injustice.

According to the information I have received Lt. Col. Jawaid became even angrier and sent 20-25 armed Rangers at around midnight to kidnap Mr. Shah and teach him a lesson. The soldiers cordoned off the area where Mr. Shah lives as if they were acting against some terrorist threat and raided his house without having any legal order or complaint in black and white. Fortunately, Mr. Shah was not at home at that time otherwise he might have been treated brutally before being abducted.

I would like to emphasize that this case should not be merely taken as a violation of rules and procedures but, even more seriously as a criminal act as well as a human rights violation. It is no doubt a sheer example of felony and misdemeanor. However this is not a new trend as the agencies have been implacable in their attitude towards Mr. Shah as he always stood at the forefront to defend the human rights violations by state and non-state actors.

In order to condemn this act and forestall the possible threats and assault, the Pakistan Fisher Folk Forum-PFF held a series of protests throughout the entire province of Sindh.

I therefore, urge you to initiate an inquiry into this matter of harassment of a human right defender and fisher folk activist. I urge you to take action and prosecute the relevant personnel of the rangers, in particular, their commander, Lt. Col. Jawaid and condemn this act of sheer unlawfulness and misdemeanor.

Yours sincerely,

AUTHOR: William Nicholas Gomes
E-MAIL: [at]


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