Please sign your name to the statement below. We hope to send this to the relevant authorities within the next couple of days. Please include your full name and, if applicable, institutional affiliation.
We are also, again, collecting funds for distribution to the local relief committee; the affected families really are in dire straits. Please email us at progpak[at]wordpress.com to help.
To: Chief Minister of Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif (firstname.lastname@example.org)
CC: Prime Minister of Pakistan, Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani (email@example.com); Governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer (firstname.lastname@example.org); Supreme Court of Pakistan (email@example.com); Chief Secretary of Punjab; Office of the Revenue Department (firstname.lastname@example.org); District Coordination Officer Toba Tek Singh; Executive District Officer (Revenue) Toba Tek Singh; District Officer Revenue; Deputy District Officer Revenue Gojra
BCC: Haji Muhammad Ishaq
It has come to our attention that on May 27, 2010, the houses of more than one hundred families living in Garha were demolished on the orders of the Deputy District Officer (Revenue). Families that had been living in the village for decades were given no prior notice, and were evicted violently and manifestly against their will–many residents were injured in the course of defending their homes from the Tehsil Municipality Administration (TMA).
Indeed, all arms of the local administration have colluded in this outrageous act: they have registered cases against 68 of the victims, removed the trees in the neighborhood, and callously cut the electricity and water supply. As a result of all this, these families now have no shelter, no medical care, and minimal resources with which to feed themselves.
A senior journalist, Arshad Mehmood Nasir, was also shot in both legs after he revealed the perpetrators of this crime–none other, it seems, than Provincial Minister for Revenue Haji Muhammad Ishaq (PPP).
Ishaq was also notoriously involved, last year, in an incident in which his entourage assaulted police officers, after those officers had moved to arrest two of Ishaq’s ghundas for openly displaying and firing weapons at a political rally.
As persons of conscience, we demand justice for the residents of Garha. The sheer gall of Ishaq and the local establishment is unconscionable. We urge you to take notice of this case, and to take
urgent measures to right the horrific wrongs done to these families and Nasir Sb., and to call all of their attackers to account.
The government must further provide immediate and full compensation to the victims of these crimes, restore their water/electricity supply, address their urgent medical needs, and see to whatever else the local committee deems necessary.
We are watching these events closely.