KARACHI: Families of Shia victims of ‘enforced disappearance’ will launch a protest drive from December 25, the families said while addressing a joint press conference in Karachi on Friday.

With the support of the Joint Action Committee for Shia Missing Persons, they said they would kick off a new phase of protest movement.

The protesters would take out a rally from outside the mausoleum of the Quaid-i-Azam against enforced disappearance of Shia youth and notables on Dec 25, the birth anniversary of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

MWM Pakistan deputy secretary general Allama Syed Ahmed Iqbal Rizvi and Imamia Students Organisation president Arif Hussain Aljani spoke at the press conference.

They made it clear that Shia Muslims believed in rule of law, but “undeclared detention or enforced disappearance” was proof of lawlessness.

They said they had always urged the authorities concerned to produce such alleged detainees in court of law if they have any proof against them.

In this regard, they also referred to the Constitution of Pakistan that guarantees certain rights to such citizens of Pakistan.

Particularly, they also cited Article 10 of the Constitution which relates to safeguards as to arrest and detention. It states: (1) No person who is arrested shall be detained in custody without being informed, as soon as may be, of the grounds for such arrest, nor shall he be denied the right to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice.

They said that the families of the victims of enforced disappearance suffered immensely and some elderly family members had passed away while longing for return of their loved ones.

They also shared numerous problems and difficulties which the affected families have to suffer. They said the families included those elderly parents, minor children and spouses who were dependent upon the income which such victims were earning for them.

Moreover, they said that the protest movement would expand to all over Pakistan and finally they would start a sit-in outside parliament.

They sought immediate release of victims of enforced disappearance and their production in court and to ensure that families and their lawyers have access to them.

Published in Dawn, December 19th, 2020

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