HRCP mourns demise of Arif


LAHORE:The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has mourned the untimely passing away of Kamran Arif, vice-chair of HRCP Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, on 2 April 2021.

A senior lawyer and internationally respected human rights defender, Arif was associated with HRCP for almost 30 years, during which he led high-profile fact-finding missions to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit and Balochistan; trained hundreds of activists in international human rights law; and remained a staunch advocate against custodial torture, enforced disappearances and the death penalty, according to a statement issued by HRCP on Saturday.

As co-chair of HRCP from 2011 to 2017, Arif spoke up consistently for human rights – particularly freedom of expression and of religion and belief – in the context of the criminal justice system. He articulated time and again the need to ensure that former FATA was mainstreamed into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa fairly and effectively, but as HRCP Secretary-general Harris Khalique noted, ‘Kamran Arif believed more in actual work than mere sloganeering. His loss to HRCP is irreparable.’ A former bureau member of South Asians for Human Rights, Mr Arif was also deeply committed to a lasting peace between India and Pakistan.

At a memorial held online yesterday, HRCP members, staff, and supporters recalled Arif’s wit, humour and erudition; his keen eye for photography; his passion for history and travel; and above all his commitment to human rights and democratic values in even the most difficult circumstances. In this, HRCP could not have had a greater pillar of support, the statement concluded.