Media note on Statement about Pakistan democracy, human rights defenders

Journalists are welcome to use this note, based on a statement made public on Jan 5, 2012. 

Media note: Citizens express concern about Pakistan, safety of human rights defenders

Updated Jan 7, 2012

Prominent writers, doctors, intellectuals, lawyers, artists and journalists from all over Pakistan and around the world have endorsed a statement expressing “grave concern” at the threats to “Pakistani human rights defenders for their stance in the ‘memogate’ case” and “at the danger this crisis poses to Pakistan’s democratic political process that had taken a step forward with the elections of 2008”.

Nearly 200 endorsements from Pakistan and around the world, including some very prominent names, came in within hours of the statement being posted online on Jan 4, 2012.

Well known Pakistani signatories include Pakistan Bar Council Vice President Latif Afridi (the grand old man of Peshawar), historian Ayesha Jalal, novelists Abdullah Hussein (of Udaas Naselein fame), Ali Sethi, and Sehba Sarwar, physicists Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy and Dr A.H. Nayyar, political analyst Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa, senior journalists, editors and columnists Kamran Shafi, Marvi Sirmed (both themselves under threat), I. A. Rehman, Ghazi Salahuddin, Sheen Farrukh, Dr Mohammad Taqi, Beena Sarwar, Naveen Naqvi, Mohsin Sayeed, Naziha Ali Syed, Zohra Yusuf, Adnan Rehmat, Raza Rumi, Rafia Zakaria, Jami Chandio, S. Abbas Raza (editor of 3 Quarks Daily), Adnan Rehmat, Kamran Rehmat, Zofeen T. Ebrahim and Nafees Bazmi, educationists Sadiqa Salahuddin and Prof. Ijaz Khan (Peshawar University), rights activists Farooq Tariq, Hilda Saeed, Khawar Mumtaz, Fouzia Saeed, Arshed Bhatti, Karamat Ali, Kamyla Marvi, Nuzhat Kidvai, Kausar S.K. and Nazish Brohi, lawyers Yasser Latif Hamdani and Ahmad Rafay Alam, prominent actor Saba Hamid, musicians Taimur Rahman (Laal band) and Shahvaar Ali Khan, economist Haris Gazdar, artists Noorjehan Bilgrami, Fauzia Minallah and Rumana Husain, architect Arif Hasan, Shoaib Mir, Amnesty International’s “Prisoner Of Conscience 1984”, and DSF founding members Zain Alavi and Iqbal Alavi, to name some.

Academics, writers and activists from around the world have also expressed solidarity with their beleaguered Pakistani colleagues. They include Indian actor and director Nandita Das, Algerian sociologist and founder of the international solidarity network Women Living Under Muslim Laws Marieme Helie Lucas, Nepali journalist and democracy activist Kanak Mani Dixit, Netherlands-based Indian sociologist Amrita Chachi, Iranian anthropology professor Dr. Shahla Haeri of Boston University, senior Bangladeshi journalist Afsan Chowdhury and right activist Hameeda Hossein, Indian journalist Jatin Desai, South Asia Citizens Web pioneer Harsh Kapoor, documentary filmmaker Tapan Bose, and Siddharth Nayak, President All India Law Students Association, to name some of the more prominent names. Several other Indian journalists, peace activists, and academics who support a strong and democratic Pakistan have also endorsed the statement in solidarity.

The statement says that allowing the elected civilian government in Pakistan to complete its tenure and hand over power to the next government following democratic elections would be a first step in “an ongoing process that is essential to Pakistan’s peace, progress and prosperity in the long run.”

The statement underscores the threats to former Ambassador of Pakistan to the US, Husain Haqqani, his lawyer, former Supreme Court Bar Association President, Asma Jahangir, columnist Marvi Sirmed, senior journalist Najam Sethi and their families, to name some of the journalists and activists at risk in Pakistan. “This is the case with numerous other journalists and activists who face death threats for their outspoken views – and many have indeed been killed in the process… This is essentially the case with anyone in Pakistan who counters or challenges the narrative of the ideological security state,” says the statement.

The ‘memogate’ case “is at the crux of a matter vital to Pakistan’s politics, that is, whether Pakistan is going to be run by a civilian elected government along the lines of a parliamentary democracy that ensures fundamental rights, or along the lines of a ideological narrative dictated by the security establishment that holds fundamental rights subservient to its interpretation of ‘national security’,” says the statement.

Coincidentally drafted on the day of assassinated Governor Punjab Salmaan Taseer’s first death anniversary, the statement notes that “Too many people in Pakistan have fallen to the ideological monster unleashed by the establishment pursuing a narrow, ideological interpretation of ‘national security’. It is time for a fundamental paradigm shift in Pakistan’s politics, to allow the nation to fulfill its potential as a progressive, forward looking South Asian nation at peace with its neighbours and the world. We urge the Pakistan government, judiciary and security establishment to play their constitutional roles, cooperate with each other and focus on re-establishing the rule of law and in order to make this possible.”

“In the meantime,” it concludes, “be aware that the world is watching to ensure that no harm comes to those who are taking a stand towards this end.”

Endorsements received by the time this was sent to the media on Jan 5, 2012 are listed alphabetically below (more signatures are coming in and will be updated at this link:

(Signatures that came in after this was sent to the media on Jan 5, 2012 are being added to the earlier list below, alphabetically)


1. A. Chhachhi, Sociologist, Netherlands
2. A. Kamal, Economist, Pakistan
3. Aazar Ayaz, Executive Director The Researchers, Islamabad
4. Abbas Syed, Secretary, South Asian Workers Alliance Canada, Toronto, Canada
5. Abdul Ghafoor Chaudhry, Social Activist, Canada
6. Abdul Hameed Nayyar, Physicist, Lahore
7. Abdul Hamid Bashani Khan, Barrister, Solicitor & Notary Public, Canada
8. Abdullah Hussein, Novelist, Lahore
9. Adnan Rehmat, Executive Director, Intermedia Pakistan,
10. Afsan Chowdhury , Research Associate. York Centre for Asian Research, York University Toronto. Canada ,
11. Aftab Ahmad, Director Administration, Ibt, Bahrain Swat
12. Afzal Tahir, Kashmir International Front/United Kashmir Journal, London, United Kingdom,
13. Ahmad Nadeem Gehla, Lawyers For Democracy, Lawyers
14. Ahmad Rafay Alam, Lawyer
15. Ajmal Jan, Student, United Kingdom
16. Ali Arqam, Blogger, Social Activist, Peshawar
17. Ali Kazmi, Student, Islamabad, Pakistan
18. Ali Sethi, Writer, Lahore
19. Ali Waqas, Ceo, Delton Solutions, Islamabad, Pakistan
20. Ali Zeeshan Ijaz, Researcher
21. Amar Sindhu, Human Right Activist, Hyderabad, Sindh
22. Ambassador Dr. Muhammad Shahid Amin Khan, World Chairman International Human Rights Commission, Islamabad
23. Amina Samee Bari, Homemaker, Ireland
24. Ammar Yasir, Marketing Head, Tea Break Networks, Karachi
25. Ammara Durrani, Citizen of Democratic Republic of Pakistan
26. Amna Buttar, Synergy International, Lahore, Pakistan
27. Anita G. Aquino, SPMUDA Global, Bahrain
28. Annie Syedah, Student, United States
29. Anthony Permal, Senior Markeing Manager – Oil & Gas, Defence, Dubai, UAE
30. Anushka Jatoi, Student, Karachi
31. Arfana Mallah, Human Right Activist, Hyderabad, Sindh
32. Arif Hasan, Architect/Planner, Chairperson Urban Resource Centre, Karachi
33. Arshad Khalil, Director Admin & Finance , Peshawar Pukhtonkhwa
34. Arshad Mahmood, Human Rights Activist, Islamabad, Pakistan
35. Arshed Bhatti, Civil Junction, Islamabad
36. Asad Ullah Jan, Citizen, Peshawar Pakistan
37. Asghar Mayo, Lawyer, Lahore
38. Asif Khan, Earth Day Network, Washington DC
39. Attaullah Beg, NCHD, Hunza
40. Ayesha Humayun Khan, Citizen of Pakistan,, Dubai
41. Ayesha Jalal, historian, Boston/Lahore
42. Ayesha Siddiqa, Political Scientist, Pakistan
43. Ayyaz, Analyst
44. Azhar Hmed, Citzen
45. Aziz Narejo, Editor, United States
46. Badri Raina, Columnist, Delhi, India
47. Beena Sarwar, journalist
48. Celine Ramsey, Citizen, Italy
49. Dervaish Khan, Student
50. Dr Abdullah Qureshi, Medical Doctor, Verona,Italy
51. Dr Arif Azad, Development Consultant, Islamabad
52. Dr Haseeb Ahmad, Medical Doctor, Jeddah Saudi Arabia
53. Dr Pritam Singh DPhil, Reader in Economics, Faculty of Business, Oxford Brookes University, UK
54. Dr Waseem Sarwar Malghani, Consultant Gastroenterologist/ Medicare Hospital, Multan
55. Dr. Ijaz Khan, Professor of International relations, University of Peshawar
56. Dr. Ilmana Fasih, physician, health activist, blogger, Canada
57. Dr. Mazhar Ali Bari, CEO of Solarprint/Physicist, Ireland
58. Dr. Mohammad Taqi, Physician & Columnist
59. Dr. Osama Siddique, Law Professor, Pakistan
60. Dr. Sandra H. Tarlin, Poet, Usa
61. Engineer Jameel Ahmad Malik, Central Chairman, Communist Party Of Pakistan (Cpp), Attock Cantt.
62. Faisal Mahmood, Officer in National Bank, Malir
63. Fakhar Ul-Islam, Project Manager, United Kingdom
64. Faraz Sheikh, social activist, Lahore
65. Faris Shirjeel, Student, Rawalpindi
66. Farooq Sulehria, Student, London
67. Farooq Tariq, spokesperson Labour Party Pakistan, Lahore
68. Farrukh Azfar, Physicist: University Of Oxford, Oxford, Uk
69. Fauzia Viqar, Shirkat Gah, Lahore
70. Fauzia Yazdani, Policy Advisor, Islamabad
71. Fayaz Ahmad, Historian, Peshawar
72. Fazil Jamili, Poet, Journalist
73. Fouzia Saeed, human rights activist
74. Geet Chainani, Doctor, Karachi
75. Ghazi Salahuddin, journalist and columnist, Karachi
76. Ghulam Hussain Soomro, Law Student, Pakistan
77. Githa Hariharan, Writer
78. Hamad Ur Rehman, CEO/ a human and social rights activist., Lyallpur.
79. Hameeda Hossain, Chairperson Ask, Bangladesh
80. Harbans Mukhia, Former Rector, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
81. Haris Gazdar, researcher
82. Harry Pasha, Director, AZCom, USA
83. Harsh Kapoor, South Asia Citizens Web (
84. Hilda Saeed, Women’s rights activist, Pakistan
85. Hilde Jacobs, Pensioner and book writer, Germany
86. I.A. Rehman, senior journalist, Director HRCP
87. Ibrahim Sajid Malick, Technologist, New York
88. Ibrash Pasha, Pakistan Peace And Solidarity Council, Pukhtunkhwa
89. Imran Munir, Instructor/Simon Fraser University, Vancouver,Bc, Canada
90. Iqbal Alavi, social activist
91. Irfan Mufti, South Asia Partnership Pakistan, Lahore, Pakistan
92. Islam Uddin, Art Activist, Khairpur
93. Jami Chandio, Executive Director Centre For Peace And Civil Society & Editor Quarterly Journal ‘Freedom
94. Jatin Desai, Journalist, India
95. Javed Anand, Muslims for Secular Democracy, India
96. Jehan Ara, Blogger & Activist, Karachi
97. Kamran Rehmat, Editor, Islamabad
98. Kamran Shafi, Columnist,
99. Kamyla Marvi, Citizen, Karachi
100. Kanak Mani Dixit, Editor, Himal Southasian, Kathmandu
101. Karamat Ali, Labour Rights and Peace activist
102. Kausar S Khan, WAF Karachi,
103. Khadija Ali, Lawyer & Human Rights Activist,
104. Khadim Hussain, Bktef, Peshawar
105. Khalid Iqbal, Development Consultant, Islamabad
106. Khawar Mumtaz, Shirkat Gah. Pakistan,
107. Khurram Islam Khan, Young’S Association Sr. Member , Rawalpindi
108. Khurram Khalid, Director Herbion Canada, Toronto
109. Kiran Nazish, Journalist, Activist, Lahore,
110. Krishna Lal, Counselor, Hyderabad
111. Latif Afridi, Vice chairman, Pakistan Bar Council, Peshawar
112. Mahvish Inayat, Student, London
113. Malala Yousafzai, Student, Pakistan
114. Maliha Husain, Program Director, Mehergarh, Islamabad
115. Malik Omaid, Concerned Citizens, Lahore
116. Malik Rashid, Taxi Driver,
117. Manisha Gupte, Social Activist, India
118. Maria Khan, Student, Johns Hopkins University
119. Marieme Helie Lucas, Algerian sociologist , founder of Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML)
120. Marium Soomro, Student, New Jersey, Usa
121. Max Babri, Concerned Citizen, Lahore
122. Mazhar Arif, Executive Director, Society for Alternative Media and Research (SAMAR), Islamabad
123. Meera Ghani, Environmental and Peace Activist, Belgium
124. Mehmal Sarfraz, Journalist, Lahore
125. Mehr Alwy, Finance Manager, UK
126. Mehre , House Hold, United States
127. Michael Renner,, Researcher, U.S. / Germany
128. Mohammad Zia-ur-Rehman, Chief Executive AWAZ CDS-Pakistan
129. Mohsin Sayeed, Journalist, Karachi
130. Momin Khan Momin, Editor Aahang Radio Pakistan , Karachi
131. Moniza Inam, journalist, Dawn, Karachi
132. Moolchand Kolhi, Student, Pakistan
133. Muhammad Amjad, Struggle, Glasgow Uk
134. Muhammad Haider Imtiaz, Lawyer, Rawalpindi, Pakistan
135. Muhammad Idris Khattak, Researcher OSI, Pakistan
136. Muhammad Younis, E/Vice President Al Maryam Development Trust and Member of HRCP, UK Bradford
137. Muhammad Zaeem, President Scholars Forum Ppp, Oklahoma University,Ok
138. Muhammad Zubair, Assistant Professor, USA
139. Mujib Mashal, Journalist
140. Mukesh Meghwar, Mehergarh (Volunteer Coordinator), Hyderabad, Pakistan
141. Mukul Dube Delhi Writer, editor, photographer
142. Mukul Mangalik, Associate Professor Of History, Ramjas College, University Of Delhi
143. Munawar Ali Bhatti, Urban Services , Lahore
144. Murtaza Razvi, journalist, Pakistan
145. Musarrat Hasan, Mpa Punjab Assembly, Lahore
146. N. D. Pancholi, Secretary, Indian Renaissance Institute, Ghaziabad (UP), India
147. Nadeem Yousafi, Businessman, Peshawar, Pakistan.
148. Nafees A. Bazmi, Editor Inqilab (Jang Group), Lahore
149. Nandita Das, Citizen, Actor.Director, India
150. Narjis Ahmed Khan, Coordinator,Aasha, Legal Aid Centre Karachi, Karachi
151. Naushad Shafkat, Lawyer, Karachi
152. Naveen Naqvi, Exec Dir Gawaahi, Karachi
153. Naveen Qayyum, Staff Writer At The World Council Of Churches, Geneva, Switzerland
154. Nawabzada Hashim Ali Khan, Pakistani, Islamabad
155. Naziha Syed Ali, journalist
156. Nazish Brohi, Independent, Researcher
157. Noman Quadri, Student
158. Noorjehan Bilgrami, Artsist, Karachi
159. Nuzhat Kidvai, WAF, Karachi
160. Pervez Hoodbhoy, Physicist
161. Qurratulain Zaman, Media Consultant, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung,
162. Rafia Zakaria, Columnist Dawn
163. Raheem Bari, Student, Ireland
164. Ram Puniyani, All India Secular Forum, Mumbai
165. Ramzan Chandio, The Nation\Staff Reporter , Karachi Pakistan
166. Ravi Hemadri, Peace Activist, New Delhi
167. Ravi, Wadhwani, Earth, S.S.
168. Raza Rumi, Writer,
169. Rehan Hussain, Student, Uk
170. Rizwan Ahmad, Activist, Blogger, Sydney
171. Rizwan Razvi, COO, Young Moajid (Pvt) Ltd., Karachi
172. Rohini Hensman, writer and activist
173. Rumana Husain, Jaal / NuktaArt, Karachi
174. S. Abbas Raza, Editor,
175. S. M. Naseem, economist
176. Saba Hamid, Actor, Pakistan,
177. Saba Quraishi, activist, United States
178. Sabahat Ashraf (“iFaqeer”), Communcator. Citizen. Fakir., Silicon Valley, California
179. Sadaf Ahmad, Assistant Professor-Anthropology, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS)
180. Sadiqa Salahuddin, educationist, Indus Resource Centre, Pakistan
181. Saleha Haque, Student, University of Salford, UK
182. Salman Naqvi, Citizen,
183. Samina Zafar, Artist, Geneva
184. Sana Saleem , Activist, Blogger, Karachi
185. Sarah Suhail, Lawyer,
186. Seema Jaffer, Citizen, Pakistan,
187. Sehba Sarwar, Writer,
188. Shafqaat Haider, ACCA, USA
189. Shagufta Naaz, Editor, Karachi
190. Shahla Haeri, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Boston University
191. Shahnawaz, Student, Karachi
192. Shahrukh Ghazali, Student, Berkeley, Ca. Usa
193. Shahzad A Shaikh, Director Bokhara Palace Ltd, Karachi
194. Shahzad Ahmad, Country Coordinator, Bytes For All, Pakistan
195. Shama Noman, Educationist
196. Shamoon Hashmi, Media Host
197. Shandana Mohmand, Political Scientist, UK,
198. Shaukat Khan, Engineer, Canada
199. Shayan Afzal Khan, Citizen and activist, Pakistan
200. Shoaib Mir, Amnesty International “Prisoner Of Conscience-1984”, Lahore
201. Siddharth Nayak, Managing Director , The Jurists ; President : All India Law Students Association, New Delhi
202. Soulat Pasha, director Titan Energy, Karachi
203. Stephanie Rudat, Social Entrepreneur/Activist, United States Of America
204. Suhailkhan Khan, None Free Lance, Usa
205. Suleman Khan Kakar, Human Rights Activist, Islamabad, Pakistan
206. Sunil K. Vaidya, Oman Bureau Chief Gulf News, Muscat
207. Susan Marie, Susan Marie Public Relations, New York, USA,
208. Syed Ali, Retired Industrialist
209. Syed Hussein El-Edroos, Business Development & Training Manager, Islamabad
210. Syed Jaffer, Concerned Citizen
211. Syed N Abbas, Acca, Pakistan
212. Syed Nadir El-Edroos, Teacher,, London
213. Tahera Ahmad, Physician, Germany
214. Tahir Saeed, Senior clinical psychologist, Ireland
215. Taimur Rahman, Musician (LAAL) and College Professor
216. Talal Naeem, Student, Netherlands
217. Tapan Bose, Documentary filmmaker and human rights defender
218. Tarek Fatah, Muslim Canadian Congress, Toronto, Canada
219. Tariq Rahman, Bnu , Lahore
220. Tayyab Tariq, Stanford University, California, Usa
221. Tazeen , Project Director, Intermedia,
222. Umair Khan, Student, Usa
223. Umar Farooq, Businessman/Social Activist, Canada
224. Veerji Kolhi, Coordinator, Hyderabad,Sindh
225. Waqas Ali, CRSD, Peshawar
226. Waqas, Student, Karachi
227. Yameema Mitha, educationist, Islamabad/Dublin/Cambridge
228. Yasir Cheema, National University Of Singapore
229. Yasser Latif Hamdani, Lawyer
230. Yasser Noman, citizen, Pakistan
231. Zafar Karimi, Journalist , Karachi
232. Zafar Mirza, International Civil Servant, Geneva
233. Zahid Ali Messo, Bhandar Sangat, Hyderabad
234. Zain Alavi, Retired Businessman, Karachi
235. Zainab Raza, Development Practitioner, Karachi
236. Zakir Hussain, International Marxist Tendency , Manchester (Uk)
237. Zeeba T. Hashmi, Citizen, Lahore
238. Zofeen T. Ebrahim, Journalist, Karachi, Pakistan
239. Zohra Yusuf, human rights activist
240. Zulfiqar Ali Khan, Higher Education Department GoKPK, Peshawar
241. Zulfiqar Shah, The Institute for Social Movements, Hyderabad, Pakistan.

2 Responses

  1. […] Media note on Statement about Pakistan democracy, human rights defenders […]


  2. […] Over the last few years, in the context of the “enlightenment martyrs,” the term can be also applied to “the tribe of Pakistanis who have publicly proclaimed or implicitly practiced the enlightenment agenda of freedom of conscience,” I wrote in 2011. “They may have very different, even opposing, political views but they are people who are engaged knowingly or unknowingly with spreading ‘enlightenment’ values.” (Also see citizens’ statement on human rights defenders in Pakistan, Jan 2012). […]


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