Arrest of Pakistan Muslim League (PML) leaders and workers, and targeted persons on 20 April 2000 in Lahore; whether articles of the Lahore press on that event mention the name of Mirza Mohammed Baig, Aslam Baig or the Chaudhry Brothers [PAK36885.E]

No Lahore-based English language daily newspapers could be consulted on whether Pakistan Muslim League (PML) leaders and workers, or targeted persons, were arrested on 20 April 2000 in Lahore and whether articles in those newspapers mentioned the name of Mirza Mohammed Baig, Aslam Baig or the Chaudhry Brothers.

However, The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) annual report entitled State of Human Rights in 2000 states that:

In April [2000], as the PML planned a series of protests against the verdict delivered in the plane hijacking case against its leader, Mian Nawaz Sharif, hundreds of its workers were arrested in Karachi, Rawalpindi and other parts of the Punjab to prevent them from taking part in rallies. Other groups of protesters were arrested from the areas surrounding the premises of the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) hearing the case in Karachi throughout March and April (147).

No further information on the arrest of PML leaders and workers, or targeted persons, in April 2000 could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

However, a 10 July 2000 M2 Presswire report quotes Amnesty International

As stating that:

Leaders of the PML have stated that some 300 party members including former parliamentarians have been arrested without charge and that arrests were continuing. Punjab home ministry sources have reportedly confirmed to the media that 93 PML members had been arrested to stop a procession planned by the wife of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
Kulsoom Nawaz had said she intended to lead a procession from Peshawar to Lahore on 8 July to collect donations for the drought affected people in Sindh and Balochistan. She has risen to political prominence since the overthrow of her husband's government and his imprisonment for hijacking and his trial on corruption charges.

A 24 July 2000 report in the Karachi-based Business Recorder states that Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Nawaz faction) "leaders and workers" had been arrested in the first week of July 2000 and had subsequently been set free by the authorities, with the exception of PML (N) leaders Jawed Hashmi, Tehmina Daultana, Chaudhry Safdar-ur-Rahman, Khwaja Ahmad Hassan and Tehmina's husband Zahid Wahla.

Other party leaders including Raja Zafar-ul-Haq and Sheikh Rashid who were "nominated" in the First Information report (FIR) but who opposed the Kulsoom's "Caravan" from taking place, were not arrested (ibid).

On the Chaudhry brothers, a 30 July Business Recorder report states that both Chaudhry Shujat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervez Elahi played an important role in provincial politics (Punjab), had close ties with "suspended politicians," had regular meetings with PML leaders and would be very influential on the fate of party president Nawaz Sharif as party leader. Both opposed the "marches" organized by Kulsoom Nawaz (Business Recorder 8 Jul. 2000).

As for Mirza Aslam Baig, he is a retired general and the leader of a party called the Awami Qiadat Party (AQP) (ibid. 2 Apr. 2000; ibid. 8 Aug. 2000).

No mention of a political figure called Mirza Mohammed Baig could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Business Recorder [Karachi]. 8 August 2000. "Former Military Chief-Turned-Politician Dissociates From All Parties Conference Declaration." (NEXIS)

_____. 30 July 2000. Muhammad Riaz. "Crucial Pakistan Muslim League Meeting on Sunday." (NEXIS)

_____. 24 July 2000. "Lahore High Court to Hear Muslim League Habeas Corpus Petition on July 24." (NEXIS)

_____. 8 July 2000. "Over 60 Muslim League Activists Arrested in Lahore." (NEXIS)

_____. 2 April 2000. "Former Army chief Asks Government to Hold Local Polls on Party Basis." (NEXIS)

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP). 2001. State of Human Rights in 2000. Islamabad: Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

M2 Presswire. 10 July 2000. Amnesty International. Pakistan - Arrest of Peaceful Political Activists Must Stop." (NEXIS)

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB databases

Keesing's Record of World Events 2000

Resource Centre Country Files: Pakistan

Internet sources including:

Country Reports for Human Rights Practices 2000.

Dawn Daily, Karachi

Dawn Wire Services (DWS). Weelky.

World News Connection (WNC)

Search engines: