A leading human rights and civil rights activist, Ansar Ahmed Burney was born on 14 August 1956 in Karachi to Syed Mukhtar Ahmed Burney. He is a graduate of Masters and Law from Karachi University and honorary recipient
Ansar Ahmed Burney
A leading human rights and civil rights activist, Ansar Ahmed Burney was born on 14 August 1956 in Karachi to Syed Mukhtar Ahmed Burney. He is a graduate of Masters and Law from Karachi University and honorary recipient of a PhD. in Philosophy. In 1980, Ansar Burney began the "Ansar Burney Welfare Trust", "Prisoners Aid Society", and "Bureau of Missing and Kidnapped Persons" in Karachi.
A vocal and prominent student leader in the 1970s, Ansar Burney was always known as one to raise his voice for justice, freedom of speech and for human and civil rights during the time of Martial Law in Pakistan. As such, he landed himself in trouble on many occasions with the military government.
In 1977 at the age of 20, Ansar Burney was arrested on charges of delivering speeches against Martial Law in Pakistan and without a fair trial he was sentenced to 8 months rigorous imprisonment.
Upon his release, he was again arrested by the Martial Law Authorities who sent him to Karachi Prison for a further 2 months detention. In 1979, he was again arrested for the third time and detained for a month.
At all three times, Ansar Burney was imprisoned for raising his voice for democracy and against the terrible injustices being committed by the then military government.
During this time of detention in different prisons, Ansar Burney witnessed first hand the miserable conditions of Pakistani prisons and the barbaric treatments inflicted on prisoners. He met many innocent people who had been locked up for several years without ever committing a crime or even facing trial.
That was the time that he decided to help those in need; and after completing his law degree in 1980, Ansar Burney established the ‘Prisoners Aid Society’ with the purpose of bringing reforms in prisons and to get the release of all innocent and illegally confined prisoners.
As a result of his continued and selfless work, Ansar Burney has so far been able to secure release of around 700,000 prisoners from countries all around the world. These have included persons locked up on false charges, those released from private and illegal prisons, illegal immigrants and those who were released from slave labor camps; some released after as many as 55 years of illegal confinement.
One such famous case was that of Muhammad Akhtar, in which Akhtar's mother was raped before his birth in prison. After Akhtar's birth no one wanted to accept him and he spent 40 years in prison before his release.
With the passing of time, Ansar Burney led the Trust into becoming a true human rights organisation working for justice without discrimination and against all forms of human and civil rights repressions and violations.
Working at the forefront, Ansar Burney has fearlessly led legal missions, humanitarian relief teams and fought for the rights of the innocents in many parts of the world; facing yet more imprisonment in Bosnia and various attacks on his life.
Ansar Burney, founder and chairman of Ansar Burney Trust, is an authority on human rights in Pakistan and the Middle East. He has hosted and attended hundreds of National and International conferences, groups and forums and has received over 200 awards and medals from home and abroad.
On the 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. And due to his two decades long international campaign to end child slavery in the Middle East in the form of child camel jockeys, Ansar Burney was declared an 'Anti-Human Trafficking Hero' in the 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report by the US State Department.
On 16 November 2007, Ansar Burney was sworn in as Pakistan's caretaker Federal Minister for Human Rights. He will be the first man to head the newly established Human Rights ministry of Pakistan.
On 27 March 2008, he was elected for a term of three years as one of the 18 members of the United Nations Human Rights Council Advisory Committee and due to ‘his recognized experience in the field of human rights and acknowledged competence and impartiality, Burney received wide support from all regional groups of the Council’.
In 2008 he was listed in a poll by 'The Financial Daily' as a favourite personality.
Ansar Burney also played an instrumental role in getting the crew of MV Suez free from the captivity of Somali pirates in 2011.
On Aug 22, 2011, Ansar Buney announced that following the Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations at the end of Ramadan, he would initiate an anti-corruption movement in Pakistan based on the popular movement of Anna Hazare in India.
Ansar Burney got married with Shaheen on May 28, 1981 and they have three children - Fahad, Raheel and daughter Sana.