Mar 14, 2011

Sindh: Fears Grow For Life of Detained Political Activist

A Sindhi politician was abducted by intelligence agents and police in the end of February, his wife now fears for his life. 

Below is an article published by Amnesty International:

Muzaffar Bhutto, a senior member of a Sindhi nationalist political party in Pakistan, has been abducted for a second time allegedly by plain-clothed intelligence agents and police on 25 February. His wife is concerned for his life, as he is suffering from serious health problems. Amnesty International fears he might be tortured or ill-treated whilst in detention.

Muzaffar Bhutto is General Secretary of Jeay Sindh Muttaheda Mahaz (JSMM), a political party advocating greater autonomy for the province of Sindh from Pakistan. He was travelling in his car on 25 February with his wife and younger brother, when they were stopped by around twenty men in plain clothes who came out of unmarked cars and were escorted by a number of police waiting at the area of Saeedabad Tool plaza in Hyderabad city of Sindh province. According to eyewitness accounts, after a brief scuffle during which police fired three rounds into the air, Muzaffar Bhutto was forcibly detained at gun point.

Mr Bhutto’s wife filed an application for a First Information Report with police to determine what has happened to her husband and lodged an application against the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and police from the district on 28 February. The case will be heard on March 10, but representatives of the police and the ISI seldom appear at such hearings, particularly during hearings on disappearance cases.

Muzaffar Bhutto’s wife fears for his life as she believes he is held in secret detention and might be tortured or ill-treated and particularly as he suffers from an ulcer and asthma in addition to discomfort as result of backbone surgery he undertook due to injuries sustained whilst allegedly being tortured during his previous abduction on 6 October 2005. Following the first abduction, he was missing until 8 November 2006, when he was shifted into the custody of police in Jamshoro town of Sindh. Police claimed that they arrested Muzaffar and charged him with an attempt to bomb a gas pipeline and he was transferred to Hyderabad Central Jail. He was later tried in an anti-terrorism court, facing a series of trials but was released on 5 January 2009. According to his relatives, Muzzafar told them he had been detained by agents of the ISI. Muzaffar Bhutto has also faced charges of various other terrorism related crimes of destroying government infrastructure, but has been either released on bail or acquitted.

To read the article in full, please click here.