Four people, who had been 'missing' for the past three to four years, have returned home, said Rashid Rizvi, the head of the Missing Persons’ Relatives Committee (MPRC), on Friday.
Rizvi said that eight more people are expected to be be released soon. So far, 27 people who were 'missing' have been released due to the protest, he said. The sit-in outside President Arif Alvi's residence in Karachi, that had been underway for the past two weeks, has also been wrapped up, Rizvi added.
Two persons, who had gone missing a couple of months ago, were released yesterday. Meanwhile, earlier on Friday, Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor — via his personal Twitter account — showed solidarity with the families of missing persons. "We share their pain and we are with them in the process of tracing them [...] Let none exploit the issue on whatever context."
Relatives of 'missing' persons from the Shia community have been protesting outside President Alvi's residence since April 28, demanding the recovery of their loved ones. Protesters alleged that 23 people had been taken away from Karachi in a new wave of "enforced disappearances" and their whereabouts were not known. The recent disappearances were in addition to 22 people who have been 'missing' for the past two or three years, the demonstrators said.
Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, Federal Minister Ali Zaidi and other officials had also held talks with the protesters but they had not yielded any positive results and the protest had continued.
On Wednesday, police had arrested 36 protesters and a first information report was filed on behalf of the state against five nominated persons as well as 250-300 unknown people over a host of charges, ranging from riots to waging war against the country.
Police released 17 of the arrested yesterday after 12 hours of detention.
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.