Raja Dahir, abducted by Rangers in June, found dead, tortured

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received updated information regarding the extrajudicial killing of a disappeared person, Mr. Raja Dahir, who was abducted by Pakistan Ranger personnel on June 4. After they raided his house and abducted him his whereabouts had been unknown. Raja Dahir’s corpse was found 20 days ago in a deserted place. Though his body was dumped on July 4, the police informed the family of the deceased family on July 25. 

Raja Dahir was abducted on 4 June 2015; the AHRC ihad ssued an urgent appeal following his enforced disappearance by the law enforcement agencies. A herdsman found the corpse and then informed the police. Because of pressure from the security establishment, the judicial magistrate is refusing an application from the family to disinter the body for burial. The original urgent appeal can be viewed here.


On 4 June 2015, Raja Dahir, 40, the son of Atta Mohammad Bhambhro, a prominent writer and historian of the country, was arrested from his home at Bachal Bhanbro Village, near Rasool Abad, Khairpur District, Sindh Province, by Pakistan Rangers and intelligence officials. Raja Dahir was the General Secretary of Jeay Sindh Muttehida Mahaz (JSMM), a Sindhi nationalist party.

After searching the entire village, the Rangers finally raided the house of Mr. Bhambro. Raja Dahir was blindfolded and taken away by an entourage of 400 officials, riding in more than 50-armed vehicles.

Mr. Atta Mohammad Bhambhro, the octogenarian father of Raja Dahir tried in vain to report the case of illegal arrest at a local police station; the police refused to file the First Information Report, stating that that they do not have jurisdiction with regard to military action. The Superintendent of Police, Khairpur District, told the media that Raja Dahir might have been arrested by security persons, in connection with the Setharja Town railway line blast.

While speaking to BBC Urdu, Mr. Atta appealed to the authorities to present Dahir in a court of law for due process. According to him if his son was found to be involved in criminal activities he should be presented in court. Mr. Atta feared for the life of his son, as the missing persons are rarely released alive. His apprehension came true on July 25 when the police received a call from the police station informing the family of Dahir’s death.

As per the postmortem report, the Dahir’s body bore two gunshot wounds on the forehead and there were torture marks. The fingerprints were sent to the National Data Registration Authority (NADRA) for identification, which took two weeks. Meanwhile Dahir’s dead body was buried at Edhi Cemetery, located at Mawach Goth near Karachi.

Dahir’s father and wife had filed a petition in the Sindh High Court in Karachi. During the last hearing in June, the court ordered the police and the Rangers to produce the missing man before the court by June 26. So far, two hearings of the petition have been held in the High Court, while the next hearing was scheduled for August 6.

Jeay Sindh Muttahida Muhaz (JSMM) a nationalist party from Sindh has been targeted by the law enforcement agencies. On 1 April 2013, the Home Ministry of Pakistan declared JSMM as a terrorist organization and imposed a ban. To date, not a single member of the organization has been produced in court or has been convicted of any alleged crime. The state intelligence agencies have however regularly abducted its members and later their dead bodies are found in deserted locations. In Sindh Province more than 100 nationalists have been abducted and disappeared since 2001. Many have been extrajudicially killed and their tortured and bullet-ridden bodies have then been found dumped on the streets.


JSSM had announced the launch of a movement from August 14 onward.

Shafi Muhammad Burfat, Chairman of JSMM has, in an advertisement published in a Sindhi daily, made an appeal to UN, stating: “A Fascist oppression is being held by government institutions of this state against political activists of JSMM. In which most of the central committee’s members of JSMM have been abducted by government institutions and have been tortured and killed brutally. We invite UN delegation to investigate these cases of abductions and extra-judicial killings of political activists of JSMM and to take in notice, all the brutalities of State against our Movement.”

A few days before Dahir’s disappearance, three other nationalists from the JSSM were picked up by the law enforcement agencies and they too have been missing since. According to media reports, Irfan Jamil, Jamshed (alias Jimmi Tunio), and Qadir Bux Shar were arrested in the month of June 2015, and their whereabouts remain unknown. Policemen, Rangers, and some Agency personnel (dressed in civilian clothes) abducted Mr. Irfan Jamali on 2 June 2015, while he was travelling from Karachi to Hyderabad. He is a political activist and worker of JSMM. Jamshed, alias Jimmi Tunio, a student of Sindh University, studying English Literature, has been missing since June 3. Jimmi is a political activist and worker of JSMM. He was not wanted in any police case and his whereabouts are still unknown. Another activist Mr. Qadir Bux Shar, 50, was arrested by the intelligence agency on June 4 2015 and has been missing since.

The Constitution of Pakistan under Article 9 stipulates that:

“No person who is arrested shall be detained in custody without being informed, as soon as may be, of the grounds for such arrest, nor shall he be denied the right to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice. 

The Article also provides that:

“every person who is arrested and detained in custody shall be produced before a magistrate within a period of twenty-four hours of such arrest, excluding the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the court of the nearest magistrate, and no such person shall be detained in: custody beyond the said period without the authority of a magistrate.”

The ICCPR commits its State parties to respect the civil and political rights of individuals. Pakistan is a signatory to the ICCPR since 2008. Article 9 of the ICCPR reads as follows:

1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law.

2. Anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him.

3. Anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release. It shall not be the general rule that persons awaiting trial shall be detained in custody, but release may be subject to guarantees to appear for trial, at any other stage of the judicial proceedings, and, should occasion arise, for execution of the judgment.

4. Anyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings before a court, in order that that court may decide without delay on the lawfulness of his detention and order his release if the detention is not lawful.

5. Anyone who has been the victim of unlawful arrest or detention shall have an enforceable right to compensation.

Unfortunately, the said safeguards fail to protect the citizens of Pakistan from atrocities of the military and intelligence agencies, who have been given complete impunity to act arbitrarily without any regard to constitutional rights of the citizen. Pakistan is increasingly becoming a police state where the basic rights are a luxury only the powerful and influential can afford.

Please write letters to the following authorities, calling on them to investigate the extrajudicial killing of Raja Dahir and the enforced disappearance of three other persons linked to JSSM who have been abducted by the Rangers and persons from intelligence agencies. 

Please also urge them to:
• Stop the law enforcement agencies, including the intelligence agencies, from abducting the political workers and keeping them in incommunicado;

• Help safely recover persons missing following arrest and save them from torture for getting confessional statements, as this is practiced during the illegal custody;

• Try any alleged suspects of crime before a court of law; 

• Prosecute officials who kill the citizens of the state extrajudicially and in fake encounters in direct violation of the Constitution and the ICCPR.

The AHRC is writing a separate letter to the Chairperson of the UN Working Group Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) and  Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions calling for his intervention into this matter.

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