Iftikhar Lund dislodged from focal Human Rights position in Sindh

Minister for Human Rights, Shireen Mazari, on Monday announced the removal of Mir Iftikhar Lund as the focal human rights person in Sindh, in light of “new evidence” in the accusations leveled against him.

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Shireen Mazari, the Minister for Human Rights, on Monday announced the removal of Mir Iftikhar Lund as the PTI-led government’s focal person on Human Rights in Sindh.

Announcing the decision on Twitter, Shireen Mazari stated, “On re-investigation and in the light of new evidence I have removed Iftikhar Lund as our focal person on human rights in Sindh. I also wish to express my regret over the earlier notification.”

However, Mazari did not elaborate on the “new evidence” that has come forward in the allegations levelled against Lund.

Iftikhar Lund Removed

Iftikhar Lund, former vice President of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Sindh chapter, was appointed as the focal person for Human Rights in Sindh by the Ministry of Human Rights on 10th July. However, the civil society, journalists and intellectuals protested this decision in light of the fact that Mir Lund was accused of heinously assaulting one of his employees in Sindh’s Ghotki area.

Shireen Mazari announced the removal of Mir Iftikhar Lund as the PTI-led government’s focal person on Human Rights in Sindh.

Reports suggest that Allah Rakhio, a driver of Mir Iftikhar Lund, had a disagreement with Shafiq Lund, after which Iftikhar summoned him to his house, where he was beaten barbarically by three family members, Shafiq and Rafiq Lund, and Mumtaz Ali Lund, while Iftikhar watched over.

Later, Allah Rakhio was brutally thrashed with an iron rod, which was later forcefully inserted inside his rectum. An FIR was registered against Iftikhar Lund, Rafiq, Shafiq and Mumtaz at the Khanpur Mahar police station. The police had registered a case for physically assaulting Allah Rakhio under Sections 324 and 255.

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A video showing Allah Rakhio lying on his back on a stretcher in the hospital went viral on social media, garnering sympathy for Rakhio’s ordeal. According to the medical report, Rakhio was given eight stitches to heal the injuries created by the metal rod that inserted into his rectum. The video shows Rakhio’s injuries, and his pleadings for justice against the heinous torture he had to bear.

Social Media Uproar

After his appointment as the focal person on Human Rights in Sindh, Iftikhar Lund announced his achievement of the coveted post on social media. He garnered a strong wave of criticism, as human rights activists, media persons, and civil society members, alongside opposition leaders and HR groups, demanded his removal and an explanation of behind his ill-suited appointment.

Jibran Nasir, notable lawyer and human rights activist, recorded his protest on Twitter. He mentioned, “A notification was issued by Shireen Mazari’s ministry making one Iftikhar Ahmed Khan focal person on Human Rights for Sindh. Is this the same Iftikhar who only two months ago was accused of mercilessly torturing his servant? The HR Minister must justify this appointment”

Jibran added, “So far the only qualification Iftikhar Lund seems to have is that he is the President for PTI Ghotki and Ghotki has its by-elections on 18th July. So he qualifies to be focal person on Human Rights despite allegations of torture and abuse against him?”

Lund responded to be accusations by denying his role and claimed that it was part of a smear campaign engineered to dislodge his popularity and his dynamic stance against the feudalist culture encouraged by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

Read more: Ministry of Human Rights launches campaign against child abuse

The anger and uproar on social media was fueled by another video concerning Mir Iftikhar Lund that went viral. The videos show PTI leader Haleem Adil Sheikh introducing Lund as the “Sarye wala (metal rod) wala Saith”, which doubled the anger and protests recorded by human rights activists and civil society members.

Reports indicated that Haleem Sheikh was later called by the Sindh Human Rights Commission to come forward and explain his comments in the video, where he sounds supportive of the heinous and indecent crime committed by Iftikhar Lund and his accomplices.

Lawyers and activists termed Lund’s appointment as a “travesty of justice.”

Given the sharp wave of criticism and uproar created on social media, and the ongoing investigation against Mir Iftikhar Lund over the heinous incident in Ghotki, his removal by the Minister of Human Rights has been welcomed by many.

Read more: Iftikhar Lund: PTI’s human rights adviser a sexual offender?

Political commentator and investigative journalist, Maleeha Hashmey, noted, “Minister, decisions & actions like these defame the PTI Government & embarrass PM Imran Khan.”

Hashmey added, “Please have mercy on him & STOP embarrassing him! He already has too many enemies to deal with. If you can’t reduce his challenges, don’t add to them.”

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