Washington | A global network of organisations and individuals working to secure economic and social justice has asked Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to release human rights activist Saeed Baloch. In a letter to Sharif, the International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net) expressed deep concern over the recent arrest of Saeed Baloch. He was also a Board member of ESCR-Net, which was established in 2003.
We are deeply concerned that Pakistans Anti-Terrorism Act allows for Baloch to remain detained for up to three months without formally being charged with any crime, said Chris Grove, ESCR-Net Director. Baloch, general secretary of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, was arrested by the paramilitary Rangers on January 16. He was accused of financially assisting an individual involved in organised crime and of embezzling fisheries funds.
No evidence has been produced to substantiate these accusations, which colleagues and allies assume to be false. Baloch has been on the frontline of struggles for human rights and environmental protection, challenging powerful actors that threaten the well-being of fisherfolk and their communities, Grove said.
The letter, endorsed by over 220 organisations and 50 individuals in 70 nations, calls for a prompt and independent investigation into the basis behind the charges against Baloch and ensure his immediate and unconditional release. Comprising of 196 organizations and 47 individuals from 68 countries, ESCR-Net is a global network of organizations and individuals working to secure economic and social justice through the promotion, protection and fulfilment of all human rights.