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Pakistan: Missing Vice Chancellor

Pakistan: No Action Taken By The Authorities To Recover Missing Vice Chancellor Of Kohat University

No action has been taken by the Pakistani government for the recovery of Dr. Lutfullal Kakakhel, a high-profile scientist and university vice chancellor, who was abducted on November 6 and who remains missing. The family of Dr. Lutfullah Kakakhel is deeply concerned for his deteriorating health condition, as he has high blood pressure and cholesterol problems. They fear that if he does not receive medical assistance soon, his life may be in danger. On Sunday, Dr. Lutfullah contacted his family from his place of captivity and spoke to his son. He said that his kidnappers have given the governor of the NWFP a list of four prisoners who must be released in exchange for Dr. Lutfullah’s subsequent release. Even so, the government has failed to take concrete action with regard to this case.

The AHRC is concerned that the negligence of the authorities of the North West Frontier Province speaks to the possibility of foul play from within the government itself. The authorities have not allowed the family to file an FIR (First Investigation Report) and have not allowed the legal process to begin, thus interfering with the due process that is the right of the doctor and his loved ones. In an urgent appeal issued by the Asian Human Rights Commission, (http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2009/3323/) we stated unequivocally that a government enquiry into this case is immediately necessary, and if the professor has been arrested, that his safety be accounted for. If the doctor has been arrested then the case must be made available for legal scrutiny, and those responsible for the events held accountable.

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Students and professors of Kohat University have told the family that the government has said that the Taliban is reportedly involved in the case, and has made demands in exchange for the Doctor’s release. The authorities seem to be using this reasoning to avoid coming out with an official statement, and as such, we doubt the credibility of this information. The Taliban usually approaches the media when it makes demands of the government in exchange for abducted persons, but in this case, no statements have been made. Nevertheless, the responsibility lies with the authorities to recover the vice-chancellor. The ordinary person is of ultimate value to democracy, and the government’s willful negligence in the investigation of this disappearance exemplifies its failure to provide safety and protection to its people; a responsibility that it is legally and morally obligated to provide. The AHRC calls for a national and international understanding of the role that the Pakistani government plays in the violence which emanates from the state. We call for those who are in positions of public power to be held accountable for their negligent and corrupt actions. The AHRC would like to remind the Pakistani government of its responsibility to ratify and implement the core international human rights instruments to which it is legally beholden, including the thorough investigation of disappeared persons, in line with repeated calls from members of civil society, national and international experts and Special Rapporteur on Forced Disappearances.

The AHRC urges the Pakistani authorities to take immediate responsibility for this case, which involves doing their utmost to locate the doctor and secure his safe release from detention. We remind the government that its responsibility is to every single person of the country, but that the case of this gentleman, who has done exceptional work for his country and community, through his advocacy for the importance of scientific education and his work with the previous governor, should be given immediate attention.

About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

ENDS

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