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Resolution adopted by consensus by the IPU Governing Council at its 178th session
(Nairobi, 12 May 2006)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of Mr. Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan, as outlined in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/178/12(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 177th session (October 2005),

Taking account of the information provided by a member of the Pakistani delegation at the hearing with the Committee on the occasion of the 114th IPU Assembly in Nairobi; also taking account of the information provided by one of the sources on 8 May 2006,

Recalling the following information:

  • Mr. Hashmi, leader of the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy was arrested on 29 October 2003 on the grounds that he had circulated an allegedly forged letter written in the name of Pakistani army officers, which criticized the army and its leadership; at the close of a trial which was held in camera and did not respect the rights of the defence, he was found guilty on all charges (defaming the Government and the army, forgery and incitement to forgery) and sentenced on 12 April 2004 to a 23 year prison term which, as the sentences run concurrently, amounts to seven years of imprisonment (six years according to the source);

  • Mr. Hashmi lodged an appeal against the conduct of the trial in camera; however, that appeal has become irrelevant as it has never been heard; following his sentencing, Mr. Hashmi filed an application for bail, which was dismissed on 24 February 2005; he subsequently lodged an application for suspension of sentence with the Supreme Court; it was scheduled for hearing before the Supreme Court on 27 June 2005 but was postponed because the senior judge did not attend and the other two judges on the bench felt that they could not take any decision without him,

Considering the following:

  • Despite repeated applications by Mr. Hashmi's defence counsel, no other hearing has as yet been scheduled although, according to the source, over 250 requests in other cases for suspension of sentence have meanwhile been filed and adjudicated; likewise to date, no hearing has been scheduled regarding Mr. Hashmi's appeal against his conviction and sentence, which he filed on 25 April 2004 in the Lahore High Court; according to the source, Mr. Hashmi should have already been released on the basis of entitlement to remissions under Article 45 of the Pakistani Constitution and under the existing Pakistani Prison Rules;

  • According to the member of the Pakistani delegation, an appeal by the prosecution to increase the sentence handed down on Mr. Hashmi has also been filed and the court directed that both appeals be heard together; however, he was unable to state how long it would take for the appeals to be heard, and stated that relevant proceedings usually took quite some time as there was a general practice of delays and that Mr. Hashmi might well remain imprisoned for more than seven years; furthermore, he reported that several charges under the Accountability Act were pending against Mr. Hashmi before the Lahore Accountability Court,

Recalling that, whereas the authorities affirm that Mr. Hashmi has been provided with class A prison facilities, has a separate kitchen and a servant and was provided with the necessary medical treatment such as specialist treatment for his teeth and shoulder, the source stated in January 2006 that Mr. Hashmi had recently been transferred to a prison outside Lahore where he is held in solitary confinement, with limited visiting rights, and that, although he had recently been receiving emergency medical treatment, he has not - despite a doctor's recommendations - been provided with adequate health treatment during his imprisonment,

Noting lastly that, according to the member of the Pakistani delegation, parliament did not monitor the situation of members of parliament in prison, but had recently provided additional funding to increase the number of judges,

  1. Thanks the Pakistani delegation for its cooperation;

  2. Is deeply concerned that, in contrast with the swiftness of the proceedings at first instance, which were completed in under six months, there has not been a single court action in the 21 months since Mr. Hashmi filed his appeal against his conviction and sentence;

  3. Observes that delaying hearings and a decision on Mr. Hashmi's appeal on and his request for suspension of sentence may render these judicial redress mechanisms totally ineffective, and affirms that such delays infringe his fundamental right to be tried without undue delay;

  4. Consequently urges the authorities to ensure that both appeals are heard without any further delay, or otherwise to release Mr. Hashmi forthwith;

  5. Notes that, according to the source, on the basis of his entitlements to remissions, Mr. Hashmi should have already been released, and that the authorities have provided no observations on this point;

  6. Remains concerned at the divergent views of the authorities and the source regarding Mr. Hashmi’s conditions of detention;

  7. Considers that this case warrants an on-site mission, and consequently requests the Committee to carry out a mission to gather as detailed information as possible from the competent governmental, judicial and administrative authorities and the parliamentary authorities, as well as from Mr. Hashmi himself, his family and his lawyer, and from competent human rights organizations;

  8. Requests the Secretary General to take the necessary steps to organize the mission and to seek the agreement of the authorities;

  9. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held during the 115th IPU Assembly (October 2006), in the light of the information gathered by the mission.
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