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Justice for 72 year old Professor & Political Activist Murdered in Karachi, Pakistan!

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Tortured body of a 72 year professor and political activist found in Karachi, Pakistan. Dr Hasan Zafar Arif was a professor at University of Karachi and a former fellow at Harvard University

Dr Hasan Zafar Arif was a Harvard graduate, professor and a renowned political activists who is brutally tortured and murdered in Karachi, Pakistan on January 14, 2018. He had gone missing after leaving his office and was found dead the next day. Dr Arif’s mutilated body was discovered in the back seat of his car in a remote area of Karachi namely Ibrahim Hyderi, Ilyas Goth. By looking at the photos, it is apparent that brutal torture was inflicted upon him. The state agencies have taken into their possession the post mortem report which confirms cause of death, and are pressurizing the family members for an immediate burial of the deceased to remove any doubts the public may have. Even though pictures and video has been released on social media with clear signs of torture on parts of his body yet police and medical officer have ruled out torture and murder as a cause of death. SSP (Senior Superintendent Police) Rao Anwar is an investigation officer who is known for his prejudice and bias views towards MQM and its leaders.

Dr. Arif was known for his beliefs in democratic values and his struggles against dictatorial rule during the era of military ruler General Zia. He was a close ally of Pakistan People’s Party in 1980s and was acting as a senior leader of MQM (Muttahida Quami Movement) for past few years. He was arrested in 2016 by state agency and had been booked for allegedly facilitating and listening to a speech of exiled MQM founder Altaf Hussain. In April 2017, he was released from Central Jail Karachi after an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) issued his release order. Here is the excerpt of statement posted by Dr. Arif:

 “I was arrested by the Pakistan Rangers, a paramilitary group nominally under the control of the Interior Ministry of the Government of Pakistan, at around 3:45pm on October 22nd 2016 from outside the Karachi Press Club. I was on my way to address a press conference on behalf of a faction of the MQM in my capacity as a member of its Central Coordination Committee. The detention order mentions that I am placed under detention under the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance 1960 (MPO 1960). MPO 1960 is a remnant of a previous period of martial law, detainees have no automatic rights to visitation or legal representation; special permission needs to be obtained from the Government of Sindh. There is no criminal charge associated with the detention order and thus no automatic reference to the courts nor any stipulated legal due process until 90 days have elapsed.I am not allowed any meeting with my lawyers, as a result I cannot even challenge the unconstitutional order to which I am subject and which seriously undermines my right to freedom of opinion and expression.”

Dr. Arif’s tragic and brutal murder is indeed a great loss for humanity and is a testimony of state sponsored terrorism and violence against political leaders in Pakistan. Especially those who have raised voice against religious extremism and involvement of military establishment in civilian affairs. He was an intellectual, a teacher and a reformer who had refused to back down against injustices perpetrated by corrupt establishment and military rulers and we must not let his sacrifices go in vain.

By signing this petition I urge Chief Justice Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, Chief of Army staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, United Nations Human Rights organization, US State Department and the Foreign Affairs Committee to take immediate notice of these unlawful practices and atrocities against political leaders in Karachi and Urban areas of Sindh province. This political persecution has been going on since 1992, but has now reached its new limits. This kind of state sponsored violence should be condemned, and stopped in the interest of keeping the democratic process alive. We demand an independent and unbiased investigation in case murder investigation of Professor Hasan Zafar Arif and help bring his killers to justice!


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