Human rights group Amnesty International has written an open letter to the Pakistani authorities expressing alarm over the “enforced disappearance” and subsequent extradition of Abdul Hafeez Zehri from the United Arab Emirates. Amnesty said Hafeez was forced to migrate to the UAE following deadly attacks against his family members in 2012. Now that he is deported to Pakistan without his consent, his life is in extreme danger.
Abdul Hafeez Zehri was forcibly detained in the UAE by the Emirati forces from outside his home on January 27, 2022. He was kept in confinement for more than a week and then forcibly deported to Pakistan despite the obvious threat to his life.
Amnesty said that the Emirati forces kept him in confinement for several days without giving his family any information about his arrest. The forces also asked the family for his passport. “Since then, they remain in the dark about his whereabouts, the charges against him or what legal recourse they have, if any.”
“Abdul’s family believes he is in extreme danger in Pakistan, which is why he immigrated to the UAE in 2012 following deadly attacks against other family members in the past. Pakistani authorities must reveal Abdul Hafeez’s whereabouts, allow him regular contact with his family and lawyer, and guarantee his rights to fair trial and due process of law”, Amnesty International said.
It is pertinent to mention that Abdul Hafeez Zehri was forced to migrate to UAE after deadly attacks on his family members and their persecution, allegedly at the hands of the Pakistani forces. His thirteen-year-old brother, Majeed Zehri, was forcibly disappeared in 2010 and his dead body was thrown in the wilderness. His father, Haji Ramzan Zehri, was killed outside his home in Khuzdar in 2011.
Hafeez’s cousin Rashid Hussain was also forcibly disappeared from the United Arab Emirates in December 2018 by the Emirati forces. He was kept in confinement for six months and then extradited to Pakistan six months later. His family members have been protesting for his safe release for several years but to no avail. The Pakistani authorities have also confirmed his deportation to Pakistan, but he has not been presented in any court and legally prosecuted. The Pakistani authorities have also tried to coerce his family into submission and also tried to force them to sign a fabricated statement indicting him as a militant.