Pakistani Civil Society Under attack:
Harrasment of Human / Women's rights activists, organisations, independent media and other institutions of civil society

A chronology of events of the last year (May 5, 1998 - May 21, 1999) in Pakistan indicates that the general move to clamp down on Human/Women's Rights NGO's is focused on their efforts to take up the crucial issues of:

Parallel to this attack on NGOs numerous other developments have taken place in the overall move towards an authoritarian regime without checks and balances. This has included the attack on journalists, and the undermining of other institutions. (See: A chronology of events of the last year).

You can support dissenting voices of independent NGO's, Human / Women's Rights Defenders and Mediapersons in Pakistan by:

1) Writing to the Pakistan Embassy/High Commission in your country and to the persons at the addresses listed below:

a) expressing concern about the vilification campaign against Human/women's rights groups and direct attacks on institutions of civil society, especially NGOs and journalists,

b) requesting an immediate halt to inflammatory statements by government representatives and incitement to violence against human rights activists and organisations in Pakistan

2) Write to your representatives and bilateral agencies expressing concern and asking that your government take up this issue with the government of Pakistan;

3) Write to international and regional institutions expressing concern and asking them to take up this issue with the government of Pakistan, reminding them that Pakistan is signatory to various international instruments that uphold human rights and call for an enabling environment for NGOs (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, CEDAW, Child Rights Convention, ICPD Programme of Action, Beijing Platform, Social Summit)


Chief Minister, Mian Shahbaz Sharif
Fax: (92-42) 920 0130 and 920 0160
Prime Minister, Mian Nawaz Sharif
fax: (92-51) 920 8890 and 920 1545
Federal Minister of the Interior, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain
Fax: (92-51) 920 2624
Additionally, write to the following members of the judiciary as custodians of fundamental rights to please take suo moto notice of these attacks

The Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Ajmal Mian
Fax: (92-51) 921 3452

Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid,
C/o Supreme Court of Pakistan
Fax: (92-51) 921 3452

Chief Justice Lahore High Court,
Justice Rashid Aziz
Fax: (92-42) 735 5888

Statements from Women's / Human Rights organisations, the media and other segments of Pakistani civil society

Reports from the Media

Prominent Pakistani Women's Organisation Shirkat Gah Under Attack: An Alert for Action (May 18, 1999)

Press Release (May 15, 1999)
Letter from Shirkat Gah
(May 17, 1999)
Press Release (May 25, 1999)
Model Letter to Pakistan Authorities concerning attack on Shirkat Gah

Pakistani NGO's blast govt's bid to 'create authoriatrian state'" HRCP, Shirkat Gah, WAF, Ajoka condemn attack by Binyamin reported in The News (Pakistan), May 16, 1999
PPAD statement on Assaults on Democracy ( May 17, 1999) This is not the time for the IMF and the World Bank to be lending money to Pakistan ( Story in: The Economist, May 22-28, 1999)
Over 100 Pakistani Journalists Demand Protection for Press Freedom (May 20, 1999) NGO's for Bin Yamin Resignation
(The News, 21 May 1999)
Letter from US Senators Paul Wellstone, Edward Kennedy and Robert Torricelli to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif about recent attacks on NGOs & arrests of journalists in Pakistan Punjab Government prepares law to regulate NGO's (The Nation, 18 May 1999)
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan
stopped from publishing its newsletter
Law to Curb 'Anti-State' actions soon (The News, 25 May 1999)
NGO's Under Fire in New Campaign (The News, 25 May 1999)
  Hina Jilani Slates govt. for vilifying Dastak (The News, 26 May 1999)

Attempts to frame Human Rights lawyer Hina Jilani ( A new FIR filed to try to charge her for murder); Lawyers in Pakistan have protested against this outrageous move.
See: report in The News 26 May 1999

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Last Updated on May 28, 1999