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Human rights body demands release of Pak activist Saeed Baloch
MUMBAI: South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), an international human rights organization, has condemned the arrest of activist Saeed Baloch who champions the rights of fishermen. It has demanded his immediate release.
Baloch is general secretary of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum. On January 16, he was arrested by the Rangers, which is a paramilitary force controlled by the Pakistani Army.
SAHR chairperson Hina Jilani and co-chairperson Nimalka Fernando issued a statement to say, "Baloch is a well-known human rights activist associated with the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF). He is committed to protecting the socio-economic and political rights of indigenous fisherfolk communities since its inception. He is also a senior member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan."
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"SAHR perceives that his arrest may be aimed at restraining human rights, and efforts to prevent harm to human rights defenders. This action of the Pakistani government strengthens the belief of the human rights community worldwide that counter terrorism legislation is being used to repress human rights activity and intimidate defenders."
SAHR urged national institutions, and parliamentary and judicial bodies in Pakistan to take immediate action for Baloch's release. It demanded his safety in custody and said that the condition of his detention be made public.
Reminding the government of Pakistan of its responsibilities under national and international law, it urged Pakistan to give lawyers and rights bodies access to Baloch so they could safeguard him.