Subject: Elimination of Dissident leaders in Pakistan
Dear Madam President Von der Leyen,
On 2nd May 2020, the deaths of Arif Wazir in Pakistan and Sajid Hussain in Sweden were announced in international media.
As Members of the European Parliament we call on the European Commission to take strong action against Pakistan for the brutal murders of these two human rights defenders: Arif Wazir, a leader of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) who was attacked by unidentified assailants outside his home in Wana, South Waziristan on 1st May; and Sajid Hussain a Pakistani journalist living in exile in Sweden who was found dead in a river in Stockholm after disappearing in March 2020. Both murders were carried out by the Pakistani Intelligence Services.
Hussain fled Pakistan in 2012 after reporting on forced disappearances and human rights violations in Baluchistan which resulted in the police raiding his house and interrogating his family. He had also received death threats. Hussain continued his journalism as chief editor of
To the attention of Ursula Von der Leyen President European Commission
cc. Josep Borrell High Representative / Vice-President European Commission
Brussels, 5th May 2020
the Baluchistan Times from overseas. Similarly Wazir has been outspoken on the rights of the Baluch people through the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement.
The Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement is a rights-based alliance that has insisted on an end to the practices of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and unlawful detentions, and for their practitioners to be held to account within a truth and reconciliation framework. The PTM has been critical of the state’s policies in the country’s tribal belt, where a massive operation against terrorists was conducted in recent times leading to large-scale displacement and enforced disappearances.
It is not coincidental that these murders are taking place whilst the international community is distracted with the Coronavirus pandemic. Pakistan’s spy agency, ISI, has continued to silence human rights defenders and journalists both inside Pakistan and externally during this time. Discrimination through the denial of access to Covid-19 testing and medical supplies has also been inflicted on the Baluch people during this period.
We call on the European Commission to support international human rights advocates, such as Amnesty International and Reporters without Borders (RSF), in calling for an independent and effective investigation into the ongoing attacks on Baluch activists, and into enforced disappearances. The perpetrators of these crimes must be held accountable.
We thank you for your attention
MEP Helmut Geuking MEP Peter Lundgren MEP Ryszard Czarnecki MEP Bogdan Rzonca