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Two activists who went missing earlier this month returned home on Sunday, family members told Dawn, a day after two of the other disappeared men were confirmed secure.

The activists, Asim Saeed and Waqas Goraya, were among five men campaigning for human rights and religious freedom who went missing from various cities between January 4 and 7, triggering nationwide protests and sparking fears of a government crackdown.

Read more: Four rights activists gone missing this week

Family members told Dawn that Saeed, Goraya, and Abdul Rehman ─ Goraya's cousin who also went missing ─ had returned home safely.

Two of the five activists, poet and academic Salman Haider, and Nankana-resident Ahmed Raza Naseer, who were reported missing made contact with their families for the first time in over three weeks on Saturday to say that they were safe.

One missing activist, Civil Progressive Alliance Pakistan (CPAP) President Samar Abbas, remains unaccounted for.

No group has claimed responsibility for the abductions.

Explore: Missing activists make contact with families

Human Rights Watch and other rights groups said the near simultaneous disappearances of the activists raised concerns of government involvement, which officials and intelligence sources have denied.

Read more: A dark new chapter in the state’s murky war against civil society appears to have opened

Pakistan is routinely ranked among the world's most dangerous countries for journalists, and reporting critical of security policies controlled by the powerful military is considered a major red flag, with reporters at times detained, beaten and even killed.


Comments (15) Closed



Wiq Jan 29, 2017 03:30pm

Released. Yet they can't come out in open for their own safety. A job well done !

Fawzia H Jan 29, 2017 03:30pm

But where are they?

lemon Jan 29, 2017 03:27pm

I am happy that these guys are safe, but it needs to become public knowledge who actually picked them up and why !

Shah2u Jan 29, 2017 05:09pm

Where there's smoke, there's fire. These guys must have done some mischief!

Khan Jan 29, 2017 05:49pm

Nobody can dare to ask where they had been ? The courts , governments and the poor affected family are silenced ! Shame on us !

SM Jan 29, 2017 06:39pm

@Shah2u that which is considered as 'mischief' by regressive forces may actually be an act of courage when viewed from a progressive standpoint.

Ahmad Jan 29, 2017 06:53pm

@Shah2u Yeah they did. They raised their voice for you against govt. but you guys only see mischief.

Imtiaz Jan 29, 2017 07:16pm

Welcome back my friend Ahmed Waqass Goraya

Raheel Jan 29, 2017 09:16pm

@Shah2u, going by that logic every man who is arrested is not innocent. Have you heard about "innocent until proven guilty"? The very foundations o justice stand on the shoulders of this concept.

Sara Jan 29, 2017 10:05pm

What happened to the activists?? Now why can t media ask them where have they been

Haider Jan 29, 2017 10:10pm

Now they will behave.

Sara Jan 30, 2017 12:50am

Now the story will die or our media can report the truth behind this drama

Jag Jan 30, 2017 02:59am

It is a victory for the civil society of Pakistan. This shows the Establishment, did not expect so many people to risk the ire of these 'so called protectors of the state', by raising their voices against such injustice.

pro pakitani Jan 30, 2017 07:54am

amazing that they can up and disappear, and re appear . where were they ?

dPatel Jan 30, 2017 08:21am

Many years ago, many rich people were kidnapped over period of few tears and in each case the victim and victim's families never provided details about the ordeal. One thing was certain that some unknown group kidnapped and kidnappers were paid huge some ransom for their release. Hopefully these disappearances have different story.