The Lahore High Court on Wednesday took up a petition seeking the recovery of Raza Mahmood Khan, a rights activist who has been missing since December 2.

Justice Anwarul Haq conducted the hearing on a petition filed by Hamid Nasir Mahmood, the missing activist's brother. The petition simply states that Raza was picked up by unidentified persons and seeks his recovery.

Raza, a convener of Aghaz-i-Dosti, a friendship initiative between the youth of India and Pakistan, had been picked up from his residence in Model Colony earlier this month. The area falls under the ambit of the Naseerabad Police Station.

During the hearing, the judge ordered the station house officer (SHO) of the Naseerabad Police Station to appear before the court on Dec 19. The SHO has also been ordered to submit a reply before the court on the same date.

Activists belonging to various rights groups, along with friends and family, have been agitating for the activist's release. They have condemned the ‘enforced disappearance’ of activists and attempts to silence and harass those speaking up for peace and human rights.

International rights organisation Amnesty International has also demanded that the Pakistani government immediately ensure Raza's recovery.

"Scarcely does a week go by without Amnesty International receiving reports of people going missing in Pakistan," a statement issued by the organisation said.

"Many of them may have been subjected to enforced disappearances, which is a crime under international law."

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