Civil society speaks out for Sherry Rehman

Members of civil society and media condemn harassment of Sherry Rehman, demand action.


Express November 09, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Members of civil society have demanded a public inquiry into the harassment of former Federal Minister for Information Sherry Rehman, following a show cause notice served to her by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) for speaking on a ‘boycotted’ television channel.

According to a statement signed signed by various member of civil society and the media, 300 to 350 armed people, front-lined by women, protested outside Rehman’s house while the police looked on, as the protestors blocked roads and laid siege to her house on October 22.

“The attack on a public representative's house, where her undefended mother and daughter were held hostage for hours, was completely unwarranted and constitutes a serious violation of their fundamental rights,” the statement read.

The statement also claimed that Rehman's effigy was burnt in front of her house, while traffic and roads leading to the house were blocked for several hours by activists from PPP’s stronghold of Lyari.

Graffiti threatening her with physical harm if she "violated party discipline" was sprayed on the walls of her, read the statement.

“We not only condemn such resorts to terror, but also demand that the President and the Prime Minister order an inquiry into the siege of Ms Rehman's house and take swift and appropriate action against those responsible,” the statement said.

The statement also revealed that a Sindh minister said that Rehman should have expected such action for speaking to a channel that was proscribed by the party.

“The silence and inaction of other leaders after several days of the incident now also points to a trail of complicity in dangerous violence,” it added.

According to the statement, Rehman was blatant in owning the fascist behaviour of the new party shock troops, in what she described as "emotional outbursts" by party workers the government or party could control.

The statement further added, "It is our duty as watchful citizens to not allow political parties to unleash such blatant acts of harassment and intimidation in a series of crude attempts to gag its own senior leadership through violent means.”

SIGNATORIES

Justice retired Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim; Tahira Abdullah( Human Rights activist); Hameed Haroon, CEO Dawn; Zubeida Mustapha, journalist; Najam Sethi, Editor Friday Times; Nusrat Javed, anchor and analyst; Kamran Shafi, columnist; Irfan Hussain, columnist; Dr Ayesha Jalal, historian and academician; Dr Meekal Ahmad, economist; Parvez Hoodbhoy, educationist; Dr Ayesha Siddiqua, author; Khawar Mumtaz, Shirkatgah; Shehzad Nawaz; Anis Haroon, Chairperson Commission on the Status of Women; Mohammad Malick, editor; Miariann Babar, journalist; Hamid Mir, anchor/columnist; Akmal Hussain, economist; Ahmar Bilal Sufi; Salman Akram Raja, lawyer; Samina Khan; Muhammad Ziauddin, Executive Editor, The Express Tribune; Amir Mateen, journalist; Imtiaz Gul, journalist; Fawzia Naqwi, Soros Foundation; Quatrina Hussain, anchor; Absar Alam, journalist; Omar Quraishi, op-ed editor; Nasim Zehra, journalist/anchor; Babar Sattar, lawyer; Ahmar Bilal Sufi, lawyer; Dr Dushka Sayed, Historian; Fareeda Shaeed, Shirkatgah; Abbas Rasheed, columnist; Najma Sadeque; Hassan Abbas, Columbia University;  Zeenia Shaukat; Ali Karamat, PILER; Najma Sadeque; Haris Khalique, activist; Mukhtar Ahmad Ali, Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI); Fauzia Minallah, Human Rights Activist; Aqsa Khan; Riaz Khokhar; Humayun Khan; Shamshad Ahmad, Ambassador Shafqat Kakakhel, Raza Rumi columnist, , Tasneem Ahmar  UKS, Ambreen Ajaib Bedari, William Parvez (Pattan), Mohammad Tahseen South Asian Partnership.

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