‘Raid’ on house of woman activist triggers protests

Published January 15, 2019
Sorath Lohar had been playing an active role in the campaign as she believed that her father, who had gone missing some two years back, was also a victim of enforced disappearance. ─ Dawn/File
Sorath Lohar had been playing an active role in the campaign as she believed that her father, who had gone missing some two years back, was also a victim of enforced disappearance. ─ Dawn/File

SANGHAR: An alleged raid by Rangers personnel on the house of Sorath Lohar, convener of the Voice for Missing Persons of Sindh (VMPS), triggered a series of protest demonstrations in Karachi, Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas and some other parts of the province.

It was alleged that a Rangers’ team raided her house and took away her 17-year-old brother, Singhar, apparently for questioning over some matter relating to the ongoing campaign for what is being called “recovery of enforced disappearance victims”.

There has been no word so far from the Rangers’ personnel about the alleged raid.

Soon after the alleged raid, a number of civil society and nationalist activists held a protest demonstration at Shaheed Chowk in Khipro town of Sanghar district on Sunday.

They said Sorath Lohar had been playing an active role in the campaign as she believed that her father, who had gone missing some two years back, was also a victim of enforced disappearance. Most such victims appeared to be political and nationalist activists, they said.

The protesters described the alleged raid as an attempt to suppress the campaign and gag her voice. They demanded action against the personnel involved in the raid.

Similar demonstrations were held in Karachi and Hyderabad on Sunday and Monday.

MIRPURKHAS: A large number of activists belonging to the Sindh United Party (SUP), Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) and its Arisar faction, Pakistan Peoples Party-Shaheed Bhutto (PPP-SB) and civil society organisations held a demonstration on Monday outside the local press club to condemn the alleged raid.

They claimed that Ms Lohar, her sister Sassui Lohar and mother were harassed by the raiding team.

Led by SUP activist Manzoor Ahmed Memon, the protesters raised slogans against the raid and demanded appropriate action for the recovery of all victims of enforced disappearance.

They also vowed to foil all attempts to suppress the campaign launched by the VMPS.

They noted with concern that the raiding team picked up Ms Lohar’s teenage brother and appealed to the Sindh Rangers director general to take notice of the action.

HYDERABAD: Civil society activists, including Mushtaq Mirani, Ali Palh advocate, Aslam Baloch, Zulfikar Halepoto, Punhal Sario and Suleman Abro, held a press conference here on Monday to condemn the raid.

They said that Sorath and Sassui were struggling for the recovery of their father. Punhal Sario said that it was their right to seek recovery of their father and other missing persons. He demanded that all such persons be produced before court.

Ali Palh advocate, who is also an activist of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, observed that those at the helm of affairs must know what was happening in the country and that’s why they were raising this issue. “As members of civil society, we cannot remain indifferent if someone goes missing,” he said.

Published in Dawn, January 15th, 2019

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