Connecting over 25 millions NRIs worldwide
Most trusted Name in the NRI media
Syed Ansar Ahmed Burney: Advocate, introduce true human rights in Pakistan


Ansar Ahmed Burney

Born August 14th 1956 in Karachi Pakistan, Syed Ansar Ahmed Burney, son of Syed Mukhtar Ahmed Burney, was the first man to introduce true human rights in Pakistan over 24 years ago.

A graduate of Master's and Law from Karachi University and honorary recipient of a PhD. in Philosophy from Sri Lanka, Ansar Burney, Advocate started his noble mission in 1980 by setting up the "Ansar Burney Welfare Trust", "Prisoners Aid Society" and "Bureau of Missing and Kidnapped Persons" in Karachi Pakistan.

During his education he was a very prominent student leader. And as such, always raised his voice for justice, human and civil rights. This landed him in a lot of trouble on several occasions with the military government of the time. In 1977, Ansar Burney, then aged 20, was arrested on charges of delivering speeches against Martial Law and sentenced for 8 months rigorous imprisonment.

Upon release in 1978, he was again arrested by the Martial Law Authorities who sent him to Karachi Prison for 2 more months’ detention. In 1979 he was again arrested for the third time and detained for a month.

During these periods of detention in different Pakistani prisons, Ansar Burney witnessed the miserable conditions of prisons and their prisoners. He met many people who were locked up for years without ever having committed a crime; forced into detention with false criminal charges.

That was the time that he decided to help those in need and in 1980-81 after completing his law degree, Ansar Burney, Advocate started working on his project to bring reforms in prisons and get the release of innocent and illegally confined prisoners.

The Ansar Burney Welfare Trust was set up as a non-governmental, non-political and non-profitable human and civil rights organization. Its main objective was to struggle for the release of innocent persons who were kept in prisons or in mental asylums illegally or without any justification.

As a result of his continued and selfless efforts for the past 24 years, Mr. Ansar Burney has so far been able to secure release of more than 600,000 (Six hundred thousand) innocent prisoners who were illegally imprisoned in Pakistan and abroad; some released after as much as 50 to 55 years of illegal confinement.

Some were even born in prisons and mental asylums where they grew up and lived as prisoners or patients for 35 to 40 long years of their lives; only released and rehabilitated with their families and society because of the hectic efforts of Ansar Burney and the ABWT.

The "Ansar Burney Welfare Trust" has also arranged release of around 20,000 (twenty thousand) persons from mental asylums and mental wards of prisons. These were not mental cases but were kept in these asylums in inhumane conditions by influential persons due to their own vested interests.

Mr. Burney has also been successful in tracing out around 100,000 (one hundred thousand) children through his Bureau of Missing Persons who were safely delivered to their families. These include children who were set free from bounded labor camps, child camel jockeys and young girls who had been sold away for prostitution.

Once established, Ansar Burney and the ABWTI also started their struggle to fight against the inhumane and degrading treatment of women in Pakistan and abroad. With a purpose to bring those who abused women to justice, Ansar Burney has fought several cases for the cause of women’s rights and one of the success stories has been the closure of several women “mandis” (markets) in Pakistan.

Mr. Burney has also sent/taken humanitarian aid to different parts of Pakistan as well as Kashmir, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Kosovo. During the recent drought in Pakistan, Mr. Burney personally visited several affected areas and supervised the humanitarian aid operation to the region by the ABWTI.

In this process, Ansar Burney stumbled upon the use of Hindu “Haris” (Bonded Labourers) as slaves in the interior Sindh Province of Pakistan. After some hectic efforts and persistence, the Trust was successful in freeing around 2,000 “Haris”; a 100 of whom in danger of being attacked by their previous owners were taken in by the Trust and relocated to a more secure location.

Currently, Ansar Burney and the ABWTI have been working around the clock to put a stop to the smuggling of children and their use as camel jockeys in the Middle East. To date, a 100 children some as young as 4 have been released from camps in the UAE.

The Trust, led by its chairman Ansar Burney, has been involved in many other human rights issues. For more information contact the trust, or visit the campaigns section.

In 1984, Mr. Burney was twice offered by the Chief Martial Law Administrator of Pakistan, General Mohammed Zia-ul-Haque the position of Federal Minister of Pakistan; an offer Mr. Burney refused in order to stay impartial and unaffiliated and to continue his human rights work without any political reservations or activities. Since then he has on several occasions been offered ministerial and political positions but has refused, re-emphasizing the Trust’s nature as a truly independent and non-political organization.

However, positive attention is not all Mr. Burney has received. His work has resulted in the making of many enemies. He has been attacked several times and continually receives death threats. His name is on the "Terrorist Hit List" which was leaked into newspapers from Pakistani Intelligence Agencies. ABWTI offices have been attacked and employees killed. Members of the Burney family have also been attacked and severely injured.

Ambulances of the Trust have been fired upon, burnt and stoned by persons against whom Mr. Burney has fought human rights cases. The attacks continue to this day.

In relation to his human and civil rights work, Ansar Burney, Advocate has attended hundreds of National and International conferences, groups and forums. In recognition of his great human and civil rights work, he has received well over 200 awards and medals from home as well as from abroad.

On 23rd March 2002, he was conferred Pakistan’s National Civil Award "Sitar-i-Imtiaz", the first in the history of Pakistan in the field of human rights.

Mr. Ansar Burney, Advocate got married with Shaheen on May 28, 1981
Source: Burney Welfare Trust