Women's Empowerment and Leadership Development for Democratisation

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Pakistan: Condemnation of police brutality at demonstration

The Women’s Action Forum (WAF) and the Joint Action Committee Lahore (JAC) condemn in the strongest terms possible the unprovoked police brutality against members of the Alliance for the Repeal of Discriminatory Laws in Islamabad on May 2nd 2002.
Members of the Alliance had gathered to demand the release of Zafran Bibi who has been sentenced to stoning to death by a Sessions and District Court in Kohat last month and to demand the repeal of the infamous Hudood Ordinances under which she was sentenced. The case once again highlights the inherent injustice of this law. Zafran Bibi who says she was raped, was condemned to death on the basis of being pregnant while the accused was let off for lack of evidence.

As the peaceful demonstration called by the Alliance was about to disperse, suddenly and without any provocation whatsoever, the police jumped onto some of the male demonstrators and proceeded to beat them up. Then, when the women intervened to stop the violence, the police turned on them and started to beat them as well. Over 20 demonstrators were then hauled off to the police station.

WAF and JAC remind the government that it is the right of all citizens to express their opinions in a peaceful manner. Police brutality is unacceptable under any circumstances. Police behaviour on 2nd May underscores the intolerance of the current government and is tantamount to a repression of people’s rights.

WAF & JAC demand that the government take action against the officials concerned and make a public apology.

Further, WAF and JAC endorse the demands made by the demonstrators for the release of Zafran Bibi and a repeal of the Hudood Ordinances.

On behalf of JAC.