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ISLAMABAD: The disappearance of Salman Haider and three other civil society activists echoed in parliament on Monday as senators and MNAs submitted calling attention notices expressing grave concern over the development.

The mysterious disappearance of activists Ahmad Raza Yasir, Waqas Goraya and Asim Saeed was also discussed on the floor of the upper house, and the matter was ref­erred to the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights by Chairman Raza Rabbani.

PPP lawmakers also submitted separate calling attention notices in the National Assembly and Senate expressing concern over law enforcement agencies inability to track down Salman Haider, who has been missing since Friday night, and calling for discussion on the issue.

The calling attention notice, moved by senators Sherry Rehman, Farhatullah Babar, Sassui Palijo and Rubina Khalid, called the attention of the minister of interior to the disappearance of Salman Haider, Waqas Goraya, Asim Saeed and Ahmed Raza.

Nisar directs agencies to speed up efforts for Salman Haider’s recovery

“To date the law enforcement agencies have failed to provide answers regarding their whereabouts. This is a serious issue that merits a response from the Minister on the floor of the house,” the notice says.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has also directed law enforcement agencies to speed up efforts to recover Mr Haider as soon as possible.

According to a statement issued by an interior ministry spokesperson, a senior official visited Mr Haider’s family and informed them that all possible efforts were being made to recover the activist. The assistance of intelligence agencies was also being sought in this regard, the statement said.

Human rights organizations and friends of Salman Haider, who is also lecturer at the Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU), have announced a countrywide protest on Tuesday (today).

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has also given a countrywide call for protests for release of abducted social media activists.

“HRCP is greatly alarmed by Waqas Goraya and Asim Saeed disappearing on January 4, Salman Haider on Friday and Ahmed Raza Naseer on Saturday. All four are known for airing their views, sometime critical of authority, extremism and intolerance, on social media,” the statement said.

“Pakistan has never been a particularly safe country for rights activists. Many have been killed, injured, abducted and threatened for their work… The events of the last week demonstrate that the dangers already extend to digital spaces. We cannot be sure if the four cases are connected but expect that would be worth looking into as well.”

“Threats and violence have never deterred Pakistan’s activists from speaking their mind and flagging issues that conscious citizens must raise in a civilized society. We know that the events of the last few days, will not change that. At the same time, however, HRCP also implores the government to wake up to its obligation to provide a safe environment for human rights defenders and activists,” the statement concluded.

In Islamabad, a protest will be held at 4pm outside the National Press Club, while a similar demonstration will be simultaneously staged outside the Karachi Press Club. PPP has also called for a similar demonstration outside the Lahore Press Club at 3pm on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Mr Haider’s students at the FJWU Gender Studies department expres­sed their concern about his safety and called for expediting efforts for his recovery. Students prayed for his health and also expressed solidarity with his family.

Published in Dawn, January 10th, 2017

Comments (21) Closed

asif Jan 10, 2017 09:30am

Law enforcement agencies please take action against banned sectarian outfits and stop pursuing and arresting human rights and leftist liberals have some mercy on Pakistan enough nexus between state and banned terrorists no more good and bad please

kanwarch Jan 10, 2017 09:36am

Whole nation needs to stand up and protest such kind of activities. We are not a banana republic and it is the duty of the government to protect law abiding citizens. If any law has been broken by certain individuals then they should be brought to justice. I do not see any press conference by any minister to condemn this heinous act. Shameful governance. Usually the ministers come out in numbers on non relevant issues wasting public money and their time but on this grave issue everyone is quiet.

Amjad Jan 10, 2017 09:52am

For years this exercise has been carried out this should be stopped. Sometimes Civil Society activist & sometimes political workers have been killed, abducted and threatened for their nature of work. Civil Society activists are dynamic force of our society they should be protected and given opportunity to carry on their struggle for tolerant social values.

Yawar Jan 10, 2017 10:04am

Instead of tacking down extremists, terrorists, facilitators, corrupt politicians & bureaucrats; crackdown on progressive voices is shameful.

My 2 cents Jan 10, 2017 10:35am

Those who kiednapped him knows and the people --- no one dares to name them - jsut in case they too meet the same fate.....where is democracy and rule of law??

Syed F. Hussaini Jan 10, 2017 10:39am

@My 2 cents

Name them!

Make History!

Democracy is dead and so is the law.

Long live Democracy!

Long live the Rule of Law!

Last Word Jan 10, 2017 11:24am

Salman Haider and others who have been abducted had something in common. All were working for the noble cause of human rights abuses have now become the victims of the same themselves. Those behind these abductions have tarnished the image of the country besides fueling more unrest in Pakistan.

Thought Jan 10, 2017 12:01pm

@My 2 cents If I am getting your direction, then understand even in US the same thing happens to those who are against the interest of nation.

Usaifi Jan 10, 2017 01:25pm

When will this stop?

Safder Munir Nawaz Jan 10, 2017 02:08pm

Its very much clear that Govt and its various law enforcing agencies are not interested to weed out extremism engulfing entire nation and Govt departments.National Action Plan is the precise devise and tool to eliminate all he nurseries of terrorists but since extremists only target specific community therefore all state actors are not serious to eradicate the menace from the emerging political scenario plagued by these out fits.

Taimur Jan 10, 2017 03:01pm

Why there is no press conference by Interior Minister to share an update on the progress to recover these activists? If it were some judicial commission report highlighting some flaws in interior ministry Ch Sahib would have conducted several press conferences.

Kamran Jan 10, 2017 03:09pm

Name one american who mysteriously disappeared in US.

Kamran Jan 10, 2017 03:14pm

Civil rights activist.

Last Word Jan 10, 2017 03:26pm

No lessons have been learnt from the Bangladesh debacle which started with the same type of human rights violations.

Feroz Jan 10, 2017 03:34pm

In a country where hundreds or thousands have disappeared I cannot understand why this sudden uproar when four more activists have gone missing. Why sudden wake up from slumber now ? If this illegal practice has to be stopped, the illegal detention and internment centers need to be first closed. In every country there are laws to protect citizens which clearly states that any citizen picked up by law enforcement has to be presented in a Court within 48 hours.

keep it raised Jan 10, 2017 03:49pm

Keep raising the forced disappearance issue till there is justice.

Amjad Jan 10, 2017 04:01pm

What scares me, if these people are not allowed to continue their work for creating tolerant social values, the challenge to curb extremist mindset would become even more difficult to deal with. Currently, Pakistani Nation struggling to prove that we are more resilient nation but without letting these people continue their work things would remain same as they are. In addition to that if they cause any harm to society they should be dealt according to the provision of law.

syed zafar kazmI U.S Jan 10, 2017 04:06pm

So tragic & so shameful from Baluchistan to every corner of the country

Ghulam Murtaza Jan 10, 2017 04:26pm

@Usaifi It is easy to determine when state's enforcement agencies sincerely work to probe the issue. Unfortunately, we couldn't do without passing our views and imposing ideas on the floor of parliament, media, workshops and social gatherings. Public opens the eyes when Govt fail to take necessary steps to provide justice and basic needs to people. This will curb through: Speeding up enforcement agencies to curb extremists mindsets, their social movements, institutions, outfits and their supporters Providing social justice to public Access to justice Freedom of speech, writing and etc.

Qfnk Jan 10, 2017 04:28pm

People are using baseless allegations on who did what. I dont understand who are they demanding to recover these activists from?

unknown Jan 10, 2017 05:02pm

The problem in Pakistan is that there is civil-military government and not civilian government and there is sharing of powers between the two and hence the government doesn't know what the military is doing and if there are any detention of certain individual by the military or people backed by the military.