Amnesty International demands recovery of missing social activist Raza Khan

Published December 7, 2017
Missing activist Raza Khan. — Photo courtesy Agahz-i-Dosti website
Missing activist Raza Khan. — Photo courtesy Agahz-i-Dosti website

International rights organisation Amnesty International, in a statement issued on Wednesday, has demanded that the Pakistani government immediately ensure the recovery of missing Lahore-based activist Raza Khan.

"The Pakistani authorities must take all measures as may be necessary to investigate Raza Khan's fate immediately," Amnesty's Deputy South Asia Director Dinushika Dissanayake said.

"Scarcely does a week go by without Amnesty International receiving reports of people going missing in Pakistan," Dissanayake said. "Many of them may have been subjected to enforced disappearances, which is a crime under international law.

"In October, Pakistan was elected to the UN Human Rights Council on a pledge to uphold universal human rights for all. But we’ve seen few effective attempts to investigate these disappearances and no one has ever been held accountable for them," he added.

Raza had gone missing from his residence in Model Colony in Naseerabad on December 2.

A convener of Aghaz-i-Dosti, a friendship initiative between the youth of India and Pakistan, Raza had gone to his residence after a meeting with friends last Saturday.

On failing to find Raza, his brother Hamid Nasir had approached the police and lodged a kidnap complaint.

The incident has caused serious concern among Raza’s family members and friends, he said.

The complainant told the police that Raza was also associated with Lowkey Lokai, another community initiative aimed at holding dialogues and debates on the issues critical to building a peaceful society.

Raza had attended a meeting of the initiative on Saturday, Nasir said.

Naseerabad police have registered a case against unidentified person(s) for kidnapping Raza.

Read: The anguish caused by enforced disappearances

Many prominent incidents of disappeared social activists have come to light recently, many of them highlighted on social media. Earlier this year, the news of five activists going missing had elicited a strong response from activists in Pakistan and abroad. While four of them were later returned, Syed Samar Abbas, president of the Civil Progressive Alliance Pakistan, remains missing.

Prior to that, Zeenat Shahzadi, a young journalist who was pursuing the case of an Indian citizen, went missing in 2015. Driven to despair, her younger brother had committed suicide.

Although news of her return was confirmed by the former head of the Commission of Inquiry into Enforced Disappearances justice Javed Iqbal and her mother a few weeks ago, the whereabouts of Shahzadi and her family are not known since then.

Opinion

Activism in verse
07 May 2021

Activism in verse

Poetry speaks louder than prose when it comes to making an impact.
Missing women
07 May 2021

Missing women

In terms of gender parity, we are among the worst.
Mixed signals on rights
Updated 06 May 2021

Mixed signals on rights

Government officials continue to call human rights standards alien to Pakistan’s ground realities.

Editorial

Reprimanding envoys
Updated 07 May 2021

Reprimanding envoys

The prime minister should have engaged with honest and respectable officers to identify how solutions can be found.
07 May 2021

Foreign funding case

THE foreign funding case against the PTI has become a never-ending tale. It has been dragging on for years and after...
07 May 2021

Water woes

IRRIGATION experts have voiced concern over the decline of freshwater flow through Kotri barrage, which has led to...
Proceed with caution
Updated 06 May 2021

Proceed with caution

The slightest loosening of SOP protocols could send us hurling in the direction where India finds itself today.
06 May 2021

IPP dues

THE ECC decision to pay the first tranche of outstanding dues of one set of IPPs, and further delay the payments of...
06 May 2021

Violence against doctors

HEALTHCARE workers and doctors’ associations in two major hospitals of KP are adamant that the KP Healthcare...