South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), a regional network of human rights defenders, expresses concern over the issuing of a detention order against Dr. Ammar Ali Jan for attending the Student Solidarity March in Lahore on 28 November 2020.
The peaceful protest was held to highlight the issues faced by students in Pakistan. SAHR has learnt that the arrest orders were issued by the Lahore Deputy Commissioner on Thursday under Section 3 (power to arrest and detain suspected persons) of the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance. The order portrays Dr.Jan as a potential danger to the public alleging that he habitually“harasses the general public” and is a threat to peace, law and order.
Dr. Ammar Ali Jan is a prominent activist, academic and a member of the People’s Solidarity Forum in Pakistan. This is not the first time he is being targeted by the Police. In 2019 too Dr. Jan, along with several others, were charged with sedition for organizing and participating in the Student Solidarity March, whereas the constitution of Pakistan recognizes freedom of assembly, association and speech.
We are deeply concerned that in Pakistan, under the guise of danger to public, peace and law, activists, progressive intellectuals, critical journalists and the political opposition are being targeted and harassed for exercising their rights.
SAHR calls on the Police to immediately remove the detention order and stop the harassment of activists. We further call on the Government of Pakistan to guarantee the protection of activists from unlawful detentions and ensure the ability of citizens to exercise their constitutional rights.
On behalf of the members of South Asians for Human Rights,
Dr. Radhika Coomaraswamy
Dr. Roshmi Goswami