Ansar Burney (born 14 August 1956) is a leading Pakistani human rights and civil rights activist. He is a graduate of Masters and Law from Karachi University and honorary recipient of a PhD. in Philosophy. He is widely accredited as being the first man to introduce the concept of human rights in Pakistan nearly 30 years ago.Ansar Burney was a prominent student leader with the People’s Student Federation in his youth during the 1970s and was known to raise his voice for justice, human dignity and civil rights. His efforts and movement landed him in trouble with the military government of the time and in 1977, Ansar Burney, then aged 20, was arrested on charges of delivering speeches against martial law and in favour of democracy; and was sentenced to eight months rigorous imprisonment by the Martial Law Court.Upon release in 1978, the Martial Law Authorities once again arrested Ansar Burney and sentenced him to prison for 2 further months of detention and in 1979, Burney was again arrested for a third time and detained for a month.
During the periods of his detention in different prisons in Pakistan, Ansar Burney witnessed firsthand the miserable conditions of prisons and met countless prisoners whom were imprisoned without crime or charge; some in detention for over 40 years without ever appearing in court.
It was then upon his release and completion of his law degree that Ansar Burney set up the ‘Prisoners Aid Society’ and the ‘Bureau of Missing and Kidnapped Children’ in Karachi (Pakistan in 1980; and eventually formed the Ansar Burney Trust International with offices in Karachi, Islamabad, Peshawar, Mirpur, Quetta, Washington D.C. and London.
The Ansar Burney Trust is a non-governmental, non-political and non-profitable organisation which initially worked for the welfare of prisoners, reforms in prisons and mental asylums and to trace missing and kidnapped children; however then widened its scope to cover all areas of human rights and worked against human trafficking.
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