Human Rights Defender Dr. Khadim Hussain Dahot threatened and physically assaulted
Dr. Khadim Hussain Dahot, human rights defender and director of HIC Member organization has been attacked outside his home in Sindh Province, Pakistan. The mob of unidentified men attacking the defender accused him of inciting sectarian violence and committing blasphemy.
Dr. Khadim Hussain Dahot is a noted lawyer and human rights advocate in Pakistan. He is the founder and managing director of Sewa Development Trust Sindh (SDTS), a HIC Member organization that works to empower and provide education and healthcare to underprivileged women, youth and children. The Trust carries out these activities through live-streaming technology and the provision of learning facilities in remote areas of Sindh. Dr. Dahot explains that he works “for the rights of marginalised communities to foster peace and social harmony and counter violent extremism among vulnerable populations.”
On 31 August 2019, at 23:00 pm, the mob set on Dr. Dahot, chanting slogans, hurling abuses and physically attacking him, his father and other members of the family present at his house at the time. The mob dispersed only after the intervention of local police constables and neighbors who had rushed to the scene after hearing the commotion. The assailants were heard yelling out death threats as they left the premises. Following the incident, the human rights defender registered a First Information Report with the local police and also notified several other authorities. Since then, Dr. Khadim has not received any protection nor have the police taken any action toward bringing the perpetrators to justice.
Dr. Khadim Hussain Dahot believes that the assailants did not act alone, and were backed by influential people who have strong religious and political affiliations. This incident forms part of a pattern of ongoing harassment against him, particularly since he released statistics on child sexual abuse and the situation of child rights in Pakistan at a press conference in 2008.
During the fifteen years of his work in the defense of human rights, Dr. Dahot has had his passport stolen four times. Every time he has approached the relevant authorities, they have not formally registered complaints. Continued risk of attack has severely restricted his freedom of movement. In addition, would-be attackers have directed threats against SDTS for its work with marginalized communities.
Habitat International Coalition is deeply concerned about the lack of action from the side of the authorities and strongly condemns the attack and repeated intimidation and harassment of Dr. Khadim Hussain Dahot motivated by forces against peaceful and legitimate work in defense of human rights.
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