PAKISTAN: A blogger detained on mere accusation, denied bail

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The International Human Rights Commission, Hong Kong (IHRC-HK) has information that one social media activist from Khyber Pakhtunkha province, Mr. Mohammad Hayat Khan Preghal, also a frontline activist of Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), was arrested by the intelligence agencies and men in Khakis.

He was kept incommunicado in illegal detention of secret agencies for several days. Later Preghal was charged with involvement in anti-state activities under Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016. He was arrested on mere accusation as his name was not mentioned First Information Report (FIR). The man who allegedly reported on Pregal to be involved in anti-state activities has submitted an affidavit in the Islamabad high court confirming that he has never given the statement to the police or Inter services intelligence agency-the ISI.

In the last hearing of the case the single judge bench of high court was changed, ostensibly, on the instruction of notorious intelligence agency, the ISI.

Details of the case:

Mr. Hayat Preghal is a well-known and prominent social media activist of KPK province, he was also the spokesperson of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM).   A pharmacist by profession, he was working in a pharmacy in Dubai, however, the situation of KPK and particularly situation of South and North Waziristan, FATA weight heavy on his conscience. Where military operations and aerial bombardments have been ongoing since 2001, thousands of innocent men, women and children are missing or killed.

The military officers have completed and unquestionable impunity to barge into houses on the pretext of searching terrorists and do not allow them. The farmers are not allowed to even grow crops of their own choice or cattlefarming. Preghal was impressed by the Pathun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) and its leadership who were bravely fighting against the usurpers. In recent months Preghal returned back to Pakistan and started his activism through social media

On July 6, 2018, Hayat Preghal, was arrested from his house in Dera Ismail Khan, Khyber Pakhtun Khuwa province (KPK) by officials in plain clothes. The law enforcement Agency personnel forcibly entered inside Preghal’s house in late hours. The family members tried to put up a resistance against men who held them hostage on gun point for several hours, the male members of the household were also roughed up and beaten.

After his arrest, the family members went to police station to enquire and report about the case of abduction the police, however, refused to file FIR due to the possible involvement of intelligence agencies. The local people of Dera Ismail Khan (D.I. Khan) and people from South Waziristan started protests for Preghal’s release even at the offices of ISI and other intelligence agencies including government buildings.

After six or seven days of his disappearance, Preghal called his brother telling him that he is in Adiala Jail, Islamabad, and he is booked in anti-state activities and Cyber Crimes by the federal investigation agency (FATA) for using social media for the rights of FATA people.

The friends and activists of PTM immediately filed application before Islamabad High Court for his bail. In the meantime they also took the copy of First Information Report (FIR) which was ambiguous and states that “some unknown persons are uploading, transmitting, explicitly projecting and plainly disseminating propaganda through face book profiles and Twitter account”. The FIR further states that   “The illegal practices of unknown  persons could raise social unrest and as well as ethnic clashes, conflicts among different groups/community of the society that could ignite anarchy through out the state and was requested to initiate strict legal action”.

It is pertinent to mention here that Preghal’s was not nominated in the FIR. The federal investigation agency has also attached a statement of one witness who claimed to say that he is the witness to the anti-state activities of Preghal, however, in the first hearing at Islamabad high court the witness redacted his statement and denied that he had ever given such statement or evidence thereof to the FIA. He also submitted an affidavit denying his statement.

After Preghal’s disappearance for some days, he was handed over to federal investigation agency (FIA) and FIA has booked him under the sections of 9 and 10 of Prevention of Electronics Crime Act 2016.

The friends and well-wishers of Preghal applied for his release on bail after arrest in Islamabad High Court (IHC). During the last four hearings the court was unable to decide the case. Every document proving Preghal’s innocence was presented in the court to prove his innocence including the affidavit of the witness redacting his statement against Preghal. Yet the court is reluctant to release him.

In the last hearing of the case on August 10, the single bench of the IHC was dissolved and new bench will be formed in the first week of September which will hear the case.  FIA did not present any record to court of cybercrimes, Islamabad. But there are reports that ISI wants to keep him in jail.

The interference of ISI in the judiciary is widely known. Only recently one senior judge of the IHC, Mr. Justice Shaukat Siddiqi remarked during hearing of case that intelligence agencies particularly ISI is interfering and influencing  the court’s decisions and has power to make the benches of its own choice.

 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Notorious for its enactment of arbitrary laws such as the Hudood ordinance, Blasphemy laws and the Protection of Pakistan Act, the Pakistan government has now added the Prevention of Electronic Crime Act 2016 to the increasing list of laws infringing upon citizens’ fundamental freedoms.

According to rights groups, the Electronic Crime bill has draconian provisions that are blatantly infringe upon fundamental rights that are guaranteed under the Constitution. The proposed bill criminalizes activities such as sending text messages without the receiver’s consent or criticizing government actions on social media with fines and long-term imprisonment. Industry representatives have argued that the bill would harm business as well. Online criticism of religion, the country, its courts, and the armed forces are among the subjects that could invoke official intervention under the bill.

SUGGESTED ACTION

Please sign the petition by clicking the blue button which calls upon the authority to immediately release Mr. Mohammad Hayat Khan Preghal and withdraw all cases against him. The authorities must take action against the responsible officials of notorious intelligence agencies who pick the suspects on wrong information and keep them in their detention illegally and file the fake cases.

SAMPLE LETTER:

Name of the victim:

Mr. Mohammad Hayat Khan Praghal son of Arsala Khan, resident of mohallah Zafarabad, Dera Ismail Khan, KPK province, presently confined in Adiyala Jail, Rawalpindi

Names of the perpetrators:

Officials of intelligence agency-ISI

Officials of Federal Investigation Agency

PAKISTAN: A blogger detained on mere accusation, denied bail under the pressure of intelligence agency

I am deeply concerned about the illegal and arbitrary arrest of one social media activist of Khyber Pakhtunkha province Mr. Hayat Preghal is a well-known and prominent social media activist of KPK province, he was also the spokesperson of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM).   A pharmacist by profession, he was working in a pharmacy in Dubai, however, the situation of KPK and particularly situation of South and North Waziristan, FATA weight heavy on his conscience. Where military operations and aerial bombardments have been ongoing since 2001, thousands of innocent men, women and children are missing or killed.

The military officers have complete and unquestionable impunity to barge into houses on the pretext of searching terrorists and do not allow them. The farmers are not allowed to even grow crops of their own choice or farm cattle. Preghal was impressed by the Pathun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) and its leadership who were bravely fighting against the usurpers. In recent months Preghal returned back to Pakistan and started his activism through social media

I am shocked that on July 6, 2018, Hayat Preghal, was arrested from his house in Dera Ismail Khan, Khyber Pakhtun Khuwa province (KPK) by officials in plain clothes. The law enforcement Agency personnel forcibly entered inside Preghal’s house in late hours. The family members tried to put up a resistance against men who held them hostage on gun point for several hours, the male members of the household were also roughed up and beaten.

Like many other cases, after his arrest, the family members went to police station to enquire and report about the case of abduction the police, however, refused to file FIR due to the possible involvement of intelligence agencies. The local people of Dera Ismail Khan (D.I. Khan) and people from South Waziristan started protests for Preghal’s release even at the offices of ISI and other intelligence agencies including government buildings.

After six or seven days of his disappearance, Preghal called his brother telling him that he is in Adiala Jail, Islamabad, and he is booked in anti-state activities and Cyber Crimes by the federal investigation agency (FATA) for using social media for the rights of FATA people.

The friends and activists of PTM immediately filed application before Islamabad High Court for his bail. In the meantime, they also took the copy of First Information Report (FIR) which was ambiguous and states that “some unknown persons are uploading, transmitting, explicitly projecting and plainly disseminating propaganda through face book profiles and Twitter account”. The FIR further states that   “The illegal practices of unknown persons could raise social unrest and as well as ethnic clashes, conflicts among different groups/community of the society that could ignite anarchy throughout the state and was requested to initiate strict legal action”.

Here It is pertinent to mention here that Preghal’s was not nominated in the FIR. The federal investigation agency has also attached a statement of one witness who claimed to say that he is the witness to the anti-state activities of Preghal, however, in the first hearing at Islamabad high court the witness redacted his statement and denied that he had ever given such statement or evidence thereof to the FIA. He also submitted an affidavit denying his statement.

I was informed that after Preghal’s disappearance for some days, he was handed over to federal investigation agency (FIA) and FIA has booked him under the sections of 9 and 10 of Prevention of Electronics Crime Act 2016.

The friends and well-wishers of Preghal applied for his release on bail after arrest in Islamabad High Court (IHC). During the last four hearings the court was unable to decide the case. Every document proving Preghal’s innocence was presented in the court to prove his innocence including the affidavit of the witness redacting his statement against Preghal. Yet the court is reluctant to release him.

I was distressed to know that in the last hearing of the case on August 10, the single bench of the IHC was dissolved and new bench will be formed in the first week of September which will hear the case.  FIA did not present any record to court of cybercrimes, Islamabad. But there are reports that ISI wants to keep him in jail.

I am aware that the interference of ISI in the judiciary is widely known. Only recently one senior judge of the IHC, Mr. Justice Shaukat Siddiqi remarked during hearing of case that intelligence agencies particularly ISI is interfering and influencing  the court’s decisions and has power to make the benches of its own choice.

 

I therefore, urge you to immediately release Mr. Mohammad Hayat Khan Preghal and withdraw all cases against him. The authorities must act against the responsible officials of notorious intelligence agencies who pick the suspects on wrong information and keep them in their detention illegally and file the fake cases.

PLEASE SEND THE LETTER TO FOLLOWING AUTHORITIES

 

1.      Mr. Prime Minister of Pakistan
Prime Minister House
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 51 922 1596
Telephone: +92 51 920 6111,
E-mail: secretary@cabinet.gov.pk, pspm@pmsectt.gov.pk

2. Mr. Chief Minister KPK
Chief Minister Secretariat,
Shahibzada Abdul Qayum Road, Peshawar
Telephone: 091-9222460-464
Fax 091-9212237
Email: complaints@crckp.gov.pk

3. Federal Minister for Interior
Ministry of Interior of Pakistan
R Block, Pak Secretariat
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Telephone: +92 51 9212026
Fax: +92 51 9202624
Email: interior.complaintcell@gmail.com, ministry.interior@gmail.com

4. Federal Minister for Human Rights
Ministry of Human Rights
State Life Building No. 5, Blue Area,
Jinnah Avenue, China Chowk, Islamabad
Fax: +92 51 9204108
Email: contact@molaw.gov.pk

5.Chief Justice of Peshawar High Court
Peshawar High Court, Khyber Road, Peshawar,
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.
Telephone:+92-91-9210149-58
Fax: +92-91-9210170

6. Inspector General Police Kyber Pakhtunkhwa
Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum Road, Civil Secretariat Peshawar,
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan
Telephone 9210084
Fax: 9210925

 

7. Directorate of Human Rights,

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
6th Floor, Tasneem Plaza Near Jan's Bakers
Saddar Road, Peshawar, Pakistan
Telephone: +92-91-9213068
Fax: +92-91-9213069
Email: dhr.kpk@gmail.com

 [ International Human Rights Council HK is a regional human rights oragnisation, work towards to promoting peace, equality, fundamental rights and social justice as enunciated in the UN Human Rights Charter and other instruments of Human Rights. www.ihrchk.org 



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