So it has come to this!
Yesterday I circulated an email to some friends, based on an AHRC release that really had left me and others mortified. It is only fair that I post a follow-up. Not that the events described below are not obnoxious and grave, but this press release from HRCP (sent to us by Beena Sarwar) spells out the factual position, which is different from the exaggerated statements issued by the Hong Kong based AHRC that resulted in further panic, depression, and angst. I have no idea where AHRC gets its 'facts' - but, unless there is a genuine explanation from them, I certainly will not be forwarding their releases to anyone any more. Crying wolf or toying with the truth - or reporting such incidents without adequate verification - is not something to be expected of such bodies.
HRCP assails vigilantes Lahore, January 01: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)has called for immediate disbandment of vigilante squads maintained by the establishment or its favourite political party as their interference with citizens' normal affairs is not only unlawful it would lead to chaos. In a statement issued here today HRCP said: On Monday night (Dec. 31) a most deplorable incident took place in Gulberg area. A few young girls, including Muneeza Jahangir, HRCP Chairperson's daughter and a well-known TV producer / reporter, accompanied by a couple of young men, decided to take photographs of some election posters. Suddenly a bunch of armed toughs pounced upon them, mercilessly beat up a young man, dragged the girls and shut them up in the office of the son of the outgoing Punjab Chief Minister. The armed goons abused the girls and threatened them by pointing their guns at them, and offered the same treatment to Ms. Asma Jahangir when she arrived at the scene to rescue the girls. These men had no right or authority to resort to violence and imprison their victims in private premises. Worse, the culprits seemed to enjoy local authorities' patronage and were reportedly backed by a couple of police constables in uniform. HRCP calls for immediate disbandment of all such private storm- troopers as their unlawful activities will pose a serious threat to citizens' life and security and plunge society into a total chaos. The interim rulers must probe the matter and call the guilty to account, that is, if they have the power to do so. Iqbal Haider Secretary-General HRCPWhile the original and much more frightening story has turned out to be untrue, the possibility of such an occurrence - especially in the case of lower-profile people than Asma's daughters - is not far-fetched unless, as demanded by the HRCP, privately run groups of ghoondas and their ring-leaders (without whose consent the 'locking up' could not have taken place) are caught and punished.