Where is Naveed Butt? According to Hizb ut Tahrir (Party of Liberation) website, their official spokesperson was seized off the street in Pakistan shortly before Jummah prayers on Friday 11th May and bundled into a car. Disturbingly he was taken in front of his children, the site alleges that Pakistani agencies may be involved.

Hizb ut Tahrir (HuT) is “an international Sunni pan-Islamic political organisation”. They are commonly associated with promoting the goal of an Islamic state (caliphate) under Islamic (sharia) law with a caliph, head of state elected by Muslims. Often seen as controversial, HuT claims to be non-violent though attempts have been made to link the organisation with terrorist groups. HuT is estimated to have around 1 million members in 40 countries and is covered by a ban in some states.

This article however is not intended to discuss the pros and cons of Hizb ut Tahrir, nor is it meant to either condemn or support. The purpose of my writing this piece is to uphold the true meaning of human rights as a long term activist which is that human rights cannot be selective. If we truly support freedom of speech, freedom from mental and physical cruelty, legal representation, freedom from torture, then human rights must be applied to all. If we become judge and jury as to who is “worthy” of human rights, we then violate the very principles that we claim to uphold.

In recognised international standards of human rights, if someone is detained, they must know why they are being held and either be released without charge or if evidence of an alleged crime is found then given access to a lawyer. The detainee’s family must be informed of their detention and informed of their rights of access to their family member. A person must be held without being physically or mentally abused, have access to any required medical treatment and have the right to a fair trial whether a detainee in Guantanamo or an individual held by the authorities in Pakistan and elsewhere.

The wife of Naveed Butt has written an open letter to key figures in Pakistan, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani (Chief of Staff Pakistan Army and former Director General of the Inter Services Security Agency (ISI), Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani and President Asif Ali Zadari voicing her concerns. This can be found on the HuT website. She recalls that after witnessing the abduction “my children became very frightened and they came home crying. My one son is ten years, another son is nine and my daughter is only six, whereas my smallest is at home, a son of two years.”

One can only imagine the distress of these young children confused and in shock as they watched their father and protector taken from them then left unsupervised in the middle of the street.

Naveed Butt is one of a long line of “enforced disappearances” in Pakistan which include academics, doctors, political activists, students and journalists.

On 12th May, hundreds of persons from HuT turned out to protest outside a London hotel where Pakistani Prime Minsister Gilani was thought to be staying. On 14th May 2012, Islamabad High Court ordered that Naveed Butt must be produced on 18th May 2012 in court, after his abduction allegedly by government agencies on 11th May, and must not be handed over to foreign agencies. There were also concerns over other activists having been seized while distributing leaflets about Naveed Butt’s enforced disappearance.  

Despite the order from a lawyer there is still no sign of Naveed Butt.

Amnesty International has highlighted previous enforced disappearances and this statement appears on its website:-

A judicial Commission of Enquiry on Enforced Disappearances has failed to resolve the crisis or to hold the security forces and intelligence agencies to account in cases implicating them. The Prime Minister of Pakistan who controls the security agencies needs to urgently step in to address this human rights situation.

Amnesty urges supporters to sign a petition supporting the following:-

I call upon the Prime Minister of Pakistan to end the practice of enforced disappearance and hold those responsible to account.  In particular, I urge you to:
– Ensure the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances has the power and resources to investigate cases of alleged disappearance.
– Ensure all individuals subjected to enforced disappearance are released or brought promptly before regular civilian courts and charged with a recognizable criminal offence.
– Ensure that those responsible for ordering or carrying out the enforced disappearances are brought to justice.


Human Rights Watch (Pakistan) described the country as having a disastrous year with regard to human rights in 2011 and details the many problems faced by those residing there http://www.hrw.org/world-report-2012/world-report-2012-pakistan

On 22nd May, Zeeshan Haider reported that “Islamist politicians and clerics have launched an “apolitical” bloc aimed at stemming the growing tide of sectarian violence in the country. It is hoped that this will address Sunni, Shia divisions though critics say that it has little chance of success http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/south-asia/pakistan-islamists-launch-reconciliation-commission-to-stem-sectarian-violence

Some readers will be doubt be asking themselves why should I be concerned with the disappearance of someone to whom I have no connection, a stranger from a different culture in a foreign country. The answer to that is firstly I am responding on a human basis, respect for the life of another. Secondly a year ago, my colleague Pakistani investigative journalist Saleem Shahzad was kidnapped and tortured to death in Pakistan. To date, no-one has been held to account for his murder. I was reminded again this week of why I admired him so much when a contact sent me an old article that Saleem had actually written on Naveed Butt in 2005 http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/GF24Df02.html Saleem was as always independent, fair and factual, did not shy away from difficult questions and reported all sides of a debate. I have always argued that reporting on an issue does not necessarily equate to supporting that issue but that it often helps the reader to be aware of the bigger picture, hear all sides and come to their own conclusions… be informative not prescriptive.

I note that the majority of mainstream press have been surprisingly silent on this issue…

On the HuT site Muslims argue that:-

Consider that RasulAllah SAW forbade the harming of Muslims in any way, including the torture, for any reason, no matter how great the crime.

بِحَسْبِ امْرِئٍ مِنْ الشَّرِّ أَنْ يحقر أَخَاهُ الْمُسْلِمَ، كُلُّ الْمُسْلِمِ عَلَى الْمُسْلِمِ حَرَامٌ دَمُهُ وَمَالُهُ وَ عِرْضُهُ

“It is evil enough for a man to hold his brother Muslim in contempt. The whole of a Muslim for another Muslim is inviolable: his blood, his honour, and his property.” (Muslim)

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُعَذِّبُ الَّذِينَ يُعَذِّبُونَ النَّاسَ فِي الدُّنْيَا


As a human rights activist, I also recall the words of Pastor Niemoller who lived through the horrors of the 2nd World War…

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

So again I ask the question… and call upon all those who uphold human rights to stand up and ask the question,



Carol Grayson is an independent UK researcher/writer/campaigner on global health/human rights awarded ESRC Michael Young Prize 2009 and executive producer of Oscar nominated documentary Incident in New Baghdad http://www.incidentinnewbaghdad.com/


About Carol Anne Grayson

Blogging for Humanity.... Campaigner/researcher global health/human rights/drones/WOT/insurgency http://www.esrc.ac.uk/ESRCInfoCentre/PO/experts/Health_and_Wellbeing.aspx Exec Producer of Oscar nominated documentary Incident in New Baghdad, currently filming on drones.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to WHERE IS NAVEED BUTT

  1. Yaseen Ahmed says:

    I have read your article and i am very impressed with your clear and concise style. Thank you very much for highlighting this. I hope that your words have an impact. In these times of media apathy it is refreshing to read an article written with great professionalism and an honest search for the truth. Please keep this in the media, as our voices are not heard.

    A friend of Mrs Naveed Butt

    • Thank-you for your comments. I hope Mr Butt is located unharmed. No one should be above the law and anyone violating the law and harming another person should be held to account through the courts….whoever they may be!

  2. Abu Urwa says:

    Brave Words for Good Cause.Thumbs Up!
    To Other Writers, Human Right Activists “Silence is Betrayal”.

  3. Tashfeen says:

    Dear Carol,

    I envy your courage to raise voice against the abduction of Naveed Butt and his likes in Pakistan. I appreciate your help in this regard. You might have heard that recently Pakistani agencies have issues threats to Naveed’s family that if they will not stop raising voice against his abduction they will kill Naveed and through him somewhere. By looking at the history of the atrocities faced by the political activists in Pakistan it does not seem far fetched. You have also seen the same in case of your colleague Saleem Shahzad. I as an old acquaintance of Naveed request your support in this case more rigorously. Media in Pakistan is surely biased and they don’t have any courage to expose the wrong doings of state agencies.

    Best Regards,
    Dr. Tashfeen bin Rizwan

    • Thanks for your words. Please see my email to Human Rights Watch (UK) below… if I receive a reply I will post on here… I will also be contacting other organisations regarding Mr Butt…

      Dear Eleanor, (Human Rights Watch UK)

      I am an independent writer/researcher/activist in global health and human rights. I am writing to raise my concerns yet again regarding “enforced disappearances” in Pakistan, the latest being that of Hizb ut Tahrir spokesperson Naveed Butt. I stress that I am independent, neither a member nor supporter of HuT, I write simply as a concerned individual that believes human rights are not selective and we must uphold the human rights of all.

      My colleague Pakistani investigative journalist Saleem Shahzad disappeared a year ago and was later found tortured to death. I was sent photographs of his body from a contact in Pakistan, very disturbing. Saleem is survived by a wife and three children. He is one in a long line of such disappearances that have included academics, journalists, activists and doctors.

      Naveed Butt was taken off the street in front of his terrified children. The Pakistan judiciary have requested that if Mr Butt is being detained he should be presented to the relevant court. So far this has not happened. What is also disturbing to me is that the human rights organisations don’t seem to have picked up on this. Mr Butt is well known, yet there is very little in the press. I can understand this lack of reporting in Pakistan with journalists and others under threat but I hope that we human rights activists elsewhere can uphold what should be a given… that all humans are entitled to basic rights… Therefore I include an article written for my blog “Where is Naveed Butt?” https://activist1.wordpress.com/2012/05/21/where-is-naveed-butt/ and ask that along with other enforced disappearances you bring attention to the abduction of Mr Butt. If you have already done so perhaps you could send me the links

      I look forward to your response

      With thanks

      Yours sincerely

      Carol Grayson ( Awarded ESRC Michael Young research award 2009, COTT Action = Life human rights award 2009, Executive Producer of Oscar nominated short documentary, Incident in New Baghdad 2012 http://www.incidentinnewbaghdad.com/ )

  4. Tashfeen says:

    Hi Carol,

    I just saw this letter directed towards people in media from the wife of Naveed Butt. Please have a look.

    /Dr. Tashfeen bin Rizwan
    An open letter to Media, Journalists, Owners of Media Houses, TV Anchors, Reporters and Columnists
    From Mrs. Naveed Butt, wife of Pakistan’s spokesman for Hizb ut-Tahrir

  5. Thank-you I have forwarded this letter to other media and hope there will soon be news of Mr Butt…

  6. Dear All,
    I have contacted Heather Blake, Head of Reporters Without Borders to see if she can raise the issue of Mr Butts “enforced disappearance”. …I understand Mr Butt lectures and writes so could be classed also in the role of “independent writer” for the purpose of highlighting his human rights case… http://en.rsf.org/

  7. Working For A Good Cause. says:

    Dear Coral Anne Grayson.
    I was greatly impressed by your article and i felt that i just had to speak out. i am a family friend of Mr. Naveed Butt. I know him personally and, like his family, am very worried about him. But i want to give a message to everyone reading this blog.
    Everyone who is interested in this matter should please visit and add their views at the following website:

    • Thanks for the link. I am still following the case and disappointed with lack of press coverage. The issue is not whether we agree or disagree with Mr Butt’s politics but that he was taken off the street in front of his children, has not been produced in court as requested by a judge, his family do not know of his whereabouts and he may be subjected to torture… I hope we hear some positive news soon…

  8. Gill says:

    Hi Carol

    you wont get much coverage from media as i believe HT has always been a victim of media blackout and so are its members, but thanks for standing apart from the media and highlighting the case yourself.

  9. Muhammad says:

    Dear Carol

    Naveed Butt is still missing and still there is no voice on media and no response from Pakistani judiciary, Military or any other law enforcing agency. Are you still pursuing this matter?

    • Yes, I just wrote a piece on missing persons in Pakistan with Amina Janjua Masood and am following development in the courts. I am very sorry to hear that there has been no positive news. I haven’t seen anything in mainstream about Naveed Butt either which strikes me as strange! I would be interested to know how his family are coping and what actions they have taken on his behalf… I can always be contacted by inboxing on Facebook

    • Muhammad says:

      Thanks! How to find your Facebook page? Can you share the link?

  10. Thank-you , I will watch and respond later…

  11. Time to cut the crap. No one had invited Mr Naveed to join a terrorist organization and a gateway drug to Al-Qaeda. It was his own decision to put himself and his family in peril. HuT is working for subverting the Pakistani state to install a fascist caliphate, they try to recruit officials into their stupid ideology and to carry out terrorist attacks on the behalf of their Al-Qaeda allies. People who cry foul over these people getting the shaft should be ashamed of themselves.

    • Everyone, whatever allegations may be thrown at them have the right to fair legal representation, to be treated humanely in custody, for their family to be informed where they are detained and have some access and not to be killed in custody. Lawyers are currently aiming to introduce legislation as they are horrified at what is happening in Pakistan as are human rights campaigners. If the state does not uphold the law and there is state terrorism, why would anyone else expect be expected to comply… lead by example!

  12. irfanaq71 says:

    Carol, very fair article. Naveed should have access to Counsel and for the arguments to be heard. My research points to that Democracy been compromised by secret societies. However whilst Muslims don’t subscribe to it in the Western sense the Islamic Caliphate system shares similarities in terms of rule by law, consultation, law and order and no compulsion in religion, Non-Muslims have Citizenship status and protected by State. My community website: http://www.ccfg.today
    A recommended website for objective news: http://www.veteranstoday.com

    • Thanks for your comment. To pick someone up off the streets in front of their children and for the family not to be told where that person is years later is deeply disturbing. Yes Islam has rules protecting citizens not followed in this case. I know Veterans Today and will certainly check out your website.

    • Thanks for your comment…. so many have been “disappeared” simply for their opinion. This is not the way to deal with those who question the state… There must be a fair process of law!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s