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Pakistani scribe pleads with Indian Govt.

Madhur Tankha
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Zulfiqar Shah and his wife Fatima Shah at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.Photo: Shanker Chakravarty
Zulfiqar Shah and his wife Fatima Shah at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.Photo: Shanker Chakravarty

On World Human Rights Day, Pakistani journalist-cum-activist Zulfiqar Shah has appealed to the Indian Government to prevent the Pakistan High Commission from persecuting him in India.

Since April 22, 2013, Mr. Shah has been staging a sit-in protest, first at the Press Club of India and now at Jantar Mantar here, appealing to the Indian Government to instruct the Pakistan High Commission not to interfere in his medical treatment in Delhi as he has been accorded a refugee status by the United Nations’ Commission on Human Rights.

Speaking to The Hindu , Mr. Shah, protesting along with his wife Fatima Shah, said: “Our protest is against me being poisoned by the ISI in Kathmandu during 2012. During my stay in Delhi throughout this year, the High Commission has pressurised the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre and Moolchand Hospital to discontinue my treatment. I was not given treatment for five months. Now I am getting treatment at Apollo Hospital. The Indian Government needs to stop this interference.”

According to Mr. Shah, who hails from Hyderabad (Sindh), the Pakistan Army and the ISI started making life miserable for him when he started a movement for the rights of the fishing community in Sindh.

“I was fighting for the rights of the landless peasants in Sindh. In Pakistan, urban and rural land is gifted away to retired generals. I also staged a protest across the Sindh province against the killing and exodus of Hindus. In 2012, a senior Army official came to my home in Hyderabad and advised me to reduce the number of supporters and speak about the issues advocated by the Army like drone missiles. On my refusal, I was asked to live like any ordinary Pakistan national or go to other country. I was also threatened to desist from indulging in ‘anti-Pakistan’ activities, or else I might be run over by a speeding vehicle,” Mr. Shah said.

He claims that once a car tried to run him over at Asaf Ali Road here.

On May 30, 2012, Mr. Shah left with his wife for Kathmandu. He was compelled to shut down the institute where 12 employees were working.

“I rented a house in Kathmandu and started freelancing for Nepalese and foreign papers. On December 18, I was admitted to Himalayan Hospital where I was told that I was poisoned with heavy metals. My family suggested that I return to Pakistan. I was denied treatment at Pakistani hospitals. Due to involvement of Amnesty International and other human rights organisations, I was allowed to travel to India but told to return.”


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