The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that a student from Sindh province who was arrested by uniformed persons on May 9, 2012, has been dumped on the roadside having endured severe torture. His condition is critical and doctors have lost hope for his recovery if he is not been provided with the latest medical treatment. He was tortured in a military cell to confess he was responsible for several explosions along the main railway line and that he and his organization are funded from India.
The victim is semi comatose and has suffered renal failure. He and his family members are receiving threatening calls from unknown persons that claim to be from the military.
Mr. Mohammad Zakir Bozdar (27), a student and resident of Ghotki, Sindh province, was disappeared by persons in commando uniform on May 9, from the examination hall, where he was due to take the Islamic Culture paper and remained missing until October 9 which was the date that the Sindh High Court demanded that the law enforcement authorities, particularly the military, produce him. This was after several hearings regarding his disappearance. On that day he was dumped on the roadside at Tando Masti Khan, district Khairpur in serious condition. He had fainted and the villagers informed the police. Mr. Zakir had signs of severe torture all over his body and was bleeding. He was shifted to hospital and the doctors declared that he will not survive without proper treatment.
On 9 May, he had gone to the examination center at the Government Degree College, Ghotki. As he parked his motorcycle and walked towards the examination room one person in plain clothes with a scarf concealing his identity and five persons in commando uniforms with guns halted him and started beating him in the presence of Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Mr. Ali Nawaz Shaikh, who was there with the principal. He was kicked and beaten by the five commandos and thrown in the black coloured double cabin vehicle with tinted glass and no registration plate. These types of vehicles are commonly used by military intelligence officials for abductions and enforced disappearances throughout Pakistan. At this moment some other students bravely tried to stop the abduction but the SSP ordered some police officers, who were also present, to forcefully prevent them from interfering.
As regards Zakir’s ordeal of abduction and torture in military custody, the relatives and lawyers have said that after his abduction from the college a piece of cloth was tied about his face and he could not see where he was taken. During the abduction he was severely and continuously beaten and military personnel used abusive language against the Sindhis, the indigenous people of Sindh province. First he was taken to Ghotki police station for some time and from there he was taken to an unknown place. Zakir says that after the long drive he was thrown in a small room like a toilet and was kept blindfolded. For the first five days he was hung by his wrists from an overhead bar. During that period, from time to time, some people talking in Punjabi beat at his legs with rods. They were demanding that he confess that he carried out the bomb blasts on the main railway line to disrupt the link of Sindh province from the rest of the country. The torturers asked him about the connection of his organization with India and about the leader of the Jeay Sindh Mutehda Mahaz (JSMM), Mr. Shafi Barfat, about whom the media had already reported to be in Afghanistan since last year. They also accused him of being a militant of the Sindh Liberation Army (SLA).
Daily he was having 30 lashes each in the morning and in the evening. The blood comes in his urine, he is suffering with high degree of Hepatitis A and his body has blue marks and injuries all over the body.
Before his condition worsened Zakir was able to tell his relatives that the torture was stopped only when he fainted or was allowed to use the toilet. He was kicked many times, tortured with iron rods, beaten on the back and the legs. Once when he was beaten with a sharp instrument on his back he started bleeding seriously and the torture and beating was stopped for two days. However, when he recovered partially they continued the physical torture. The men in uniform wanted him to write a confessional statement that his organization and the JSSM are funded by Indian who also run the SLA.
After severe torture lasting for five months and being held incommunicado his kidneys and liver began to fail. Now his hearing and eyesight are much impaired. He is unable to sit up in his hospital bed and is suffering from Hepatitis A. His body still shows the signs and bruising caused by the inhumane abuse.
The doctors report that due to the liver failure his water from his body is seeping into his stomach and survival is impossible in this condition. Zakir was supposed to attend the High Court hearing on October 20 to testify but due to his serious condition this was not possible.
Zakir was the president of Shehri Ittehad Ghotki, (Citizen’s alliance) and his organization was raising the issues of the local people about their civic rights, employment and against the influence of big land holders of the district particularly on the educational rights of the local students. The principal of the Government degree college, Mr. Imam Bux Bhatti, was not allowing local students to get admission and was working at the influence of police and military to provide admission to the students from Punjab province. The military has one cantonment with the name of Panu Aqil, which is used for land grabbing and making hurdles for the local Sindhi people in every field of the life. This cantonment also runs a torture center where people from other parts of the country are held incommunicado and tortured.
After his abduction in the presence of SSP Shaikh, police refused to register the case of his abduction and disappearance. Typically, the police claimed that they do not know who abducted him. They stated that it might be Jihadis in which case they could not register the case. The family members filed a case in the local Additional Session Court for ordering the police to file the FIR of his abduction by military and the police force. However, the police again refused. Several times police refused to file when ever family members and lawyers tried to file case. A case was also filed in the Sindh High Court which ordered police to file the FIR but the order was also refused. Then the High Court ordered the Chief Secretary of the province to form a joint investigation team (JIT) for the investigation of his abduction and disappearance. The team members were representatives from Military Intelligence (MI), SSP Ghotki, ISI, Crime Investigative Agency (CID).
A meeting of the JIT was held in which the elder brother of the victim was called and he was threatened by the intelligence agencies not to pursue the case otherwise he and his family will face the same treatment as his younger brother. The JIT was dissolved at the pressure of ISI and MI. Again on the order of the High Court the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) was ordered to for investigative team with the name of JIT who held three meetings in which the defence secretary and other officials of different agencies were called but that committee has not yielded its result and was dissolved.
At the end when the High Court ordered the Corps Commander and army to produce him before the court on October 9 he was thrown on the roadside.
Please write letters to the following authorities calling them to immediately conduct an inquiry into the case of abduction and disappearance of Mr. Zakir Hashim Bozdar, a student, by the military and police for getting a confessional statement that he and his citizen’s organization are working for India. Please urge them to provide medical treatment to Zakir who was severely tortured during incommunicado detention by the military officials as the doctors have declared that otherwise he cannot survive. Please also urge them to prosecute the military officers who were involved in the abduction and torture of Zakir and also take strong action against the principal of Government degree college, Ghotki.
The AHRC is writing a separate letter to the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearance calling for their intervention into this matter.