February 20, 2017

Dr. Hasan Arif, 70-year-old Retired Philosophy Professor, Detained in Pakistan

Dr. Hasan Zafar Arif has been detained in Pakistan for allegedly “inciting public disorder”. He has not had legal representation or medical care since his arrest at the Karachi Press Club in October 2016. Dr. Arif has a heart condition, and his health is at risk.

January 11, 2017

The Honorable Mr. Mamnoon Hussain
President of Pakistan
Islamabad, Pakistan
Fax: +92 51 920 8479

Your Excellency:

I am writing on behalf of the Committee of Concerned Scientists, an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world.

We are extremely concerned for the well-being of Dr. Hasan Zafar Arif, a retired 70-year-old philosophy professor who has been in detention without legal representation or medical care since his arrest at the Karachi Press Club on October 22. Though he was released on December 20, he was almost immediately re-arrested and he remains in custody.

Dr. Arif has a heart condition and we urge you first and foremost to take all steps to ensure that he is given immediate access to adequate medical care. Second, we strongly urge you to see to it that he has access to an attorney of his choice, as this is a basic element of due process.

As far as we can tell, Dr. Arif has so far only been accused of “inciting public disorder”, a charge based solely on his peacefully exercising his right to freely express his political beliefs. If this remains the only charge, Dr. Arif must be immediately and unconditionally released. If he is charged with a recognizable criminal offense, we further urge that his trial must be fair, with all his due process rights protected, as outlined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Pakistan has signed.

We also wish to express our deep concern that the paramilitary unit that arrested Dr. Arif, has a disturbing record of abusing its authority, including arbitrary arrests of political activists, and torture. Dr. Arif, our colleague, is at grave risk, and we urge you to take all actions necessary to prevent any further abuses of his rights, and to protect his health and physical well-being.

We appreciate your immediate attention to this important matter and look forward to your reply.


Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich,
Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer

Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists

Copies to:

Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
3517 International Ct. NW
Washington, DC 20008
Fax: 1 202 686 1534
Email: info@embassyofpakistanusa.org