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Resolution adopted by consensus by the IPU Governing Council at its 179th session*
(Geneva, 18 October 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/179/11(a)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 178th session (May 2006),

Taking account of the hearing the Committee held with a member of the Pakistani delegation during the 115th Assembly, and also taking account of the letter from the Secretary of the National Assembly of 12 September 2006,

Recalling the following: 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; he had lodged an appeal against the conduct of his trial in camera which, however, has never been considered; an appeal against the judgement is pending, an application for bail was dismissed on 24 February 2005; he subsequently lodged an application with the Supreme Court for suspension of sentence pending the appeal,

Considering that, according to the Pakistani delegate, on 9 October 2006 the Supreme Court rejected the application and ruled that the matters raised in the application were to be decided upon by the appeal court, and that the latter was expected to rule on the appeal within the months ahead and that appeals were normally heard within two years; and recalling in this respect that, according to information provided by the Pakistani delegation during the 114th Assembly (May 2006), appeals could even take up to seven years,

Recalling that while the authorities have consistently stated that Mr. Hashmi, who remains a member of parliament, is being afforded A-class facilities and is therefore entitled to a spacious room with a bathroom attached, furniture, TV, refrigerator and servants, a special diet and the medical treatment he requires, allowed to meet his lawyer, family and friends twice a week and, according to the Pakistani delegate, has been granted special conditions by the Government, the sources have consistently affirmed that Mr. Hashmi is being treated at C-class standards, is allowed to see his counsel once a fortnight and his family once a week for one hour only and does not receive the necessary medical treatment,

Recalling that it has requested the Committee to carry out an on-site mission to gather from all parties concerned, including the imprisoned Mr. Hashmi himself, detailed information on his situation; that, in his letter of 12 September 2006, the Secretary of the National Assembly stated that parliament could not discuss matters which were sub judice and that prisons were a provincial matter and neither the National Assembly nor the Federal Government were supposed to interfere in the administrative matters of the Provincial Government, and that for these reasons it was not advisable for the IPU delegation to undertake the visit at present; noting that the Pakistani delegate echoed that message during the hearing,

  1. Thanks the Pakistani delegation for the information provided and deeply regrets the negative response regarding the requested mission;

  2. Wholly fails to understand and cannot therefore accept the grounds put forward by the parliamentary authorities since neither gathering information about Pakistani judicial procedure nor visiting Mr. Hashmi can possibly be construed as interference in judicial decisions; nor can it be argued that a visit to him cannot be arranged because the prisons come under provincial administration; hopes therefore that the parliamentary authorities will reconsider their decision;

  3. Notes that Mr. Hashmi's application for suspension of sentence has been dismissed and that his appeal will shortly be heard; requests the Committee to send an observer to the appeal proceedings;

  4. Requests the Secretary General to inform the authorities accordingly;

  5. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 116th Assembly (April-May 2007).

* The delegation of Pakistan expressed its reservation regarding the resolution.

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