KARACHI: Relatives of several ‘missing persons’ detained by police on charges of holding a sit-in outside President Arif Alvi’s home in Mohammed Ali Society here on Wednesday were released by law enforcers on Thursday. Also, two more ‘missing persons’ were released as the authorities are believed to have engaged the protesters for talks to end the sit-in, organisers of the protest and officials said. The protest has been going on for the last 14 days.

The families of the missing persons had begun a sit-in outside the president’s home on April 28 for the release of their near and dear ones who had been ‘missing’ for a considerable time.

Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, Federal Minister Ali Zaidi and other officials held talks with the protesters recently, but apparently they did not yield any positive result. Therefore, the protest has continued.

On Tuesday, Bahadurabad police registered an FIR on behalf of the state through a police officer against 250 to 300 protesters over a host of charges ranging from riots to waging war against Pakistan.

On Wednesday, the law enforcers launched a ‘crackdown’ and detained several relatives of the missing persons.

“The police released 17 detained relatives of the missing persons on Thursday after 12 hours of detention,” said Rashid Rizvi, head of the Missing Persons’ Relatives Committee. He said those persons were taken away by the police to prevent them from joining the sit-in.

Mr Rizvi said that as participation in any protest or sit-in was not a crime, the police released them as no case was registered against them.

Two more ‘missing’ persons freed

Mr Rizvi revealed that two more missing persons had been freed. He said that Aqeel Abbas and Rehan were allegedly taken away from Soldier Bazaar and Surjani Town, respectively, a couple of months ago and now they have been released.

Meanwhile, a senior police officer, who wished not to be named, told Dawn that the detained persons were released after representatives of an institution held talks with the organisers of the protest. The police officer hinted that these persons might have been released after getting “some assurances” from the organisers of the sit-in that they would not prolong the protest.

Published in Dawn, May 10th, 2019

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