Social activist Raza Mahmood Khan, who had been missing for the past seven months, has returned home, DawnNewsTV reported on Friday citing police officials.

Raza, a convener of Aghaz-i-Dosti — a friendship initiative between the youth of India and Pakistan — was reportedly picked up by men in plain clothes from his Model Colony residence on December 2, 2017.

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

Read: Silencing dissent

Mohammad Imran, SP Investigation Model Town, confirmed on Friday that Punjab police had recovered Raza 10 days ago. He, however, did not disclose further details about where Raza was found.

Raza is in good health, according to the police official, but is refraining from making a statement due to "security concerns".

'Missing' persons

International rights organisation Amnesty International, in a statement issued following Raza's disappearance, had demanded that the Pakistani government ensure the recovery of the Lahore-based activist.

"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 had said.

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

Many prominent incidents of disappeared social activists have come to light recently; earlier last year, the news of five activists going missing had elicited a strong response from activists in Pakistan and abroad.

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.


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