Update 1/11/2017: Prominent social activist Samar Abbas, the head of the Civil Progressive Alliance Pakistan, reportedly went missing in Islamabad on January 7, 2017, and is feared to have been abducted. The government has provided no new information on the cases of the four apparently abducted activists.
“It’s premature for the government to be claiming that they are moving in the right direction when the whereabouts of the missing activists remain unknown,” said Brad Adams. “In the meantime, another prominent activist is feared to have been abducted, suggesting that those responsible feel little pressure to end their illegal methods.”
(New York) – The Pakistani government should urgently investigate the apparent abductions of four activists who campaign for human rights and religious freedom, Human Rights Watch said today. The four men, Salman Haider, a well-known poet and academic, and bloggers Waqas Goraya, Aasim Saeed, and Ahmad Raza Naseer, went missing or were taken away from different cities between January 4 and January 7, 2017.
All four men were vocal critics of militant religious groups and Pakistan’s military establishment, and used the internet to disseminate their views. Their near simultaneous disappearance and the government’s shutting down of their websites and blogs raises grave concerns of government involvement. While the Pakistani interior minister, Nisar Ali Khan, directed the police on January 7 to speed up efforts to locate Haider, whom the government says it is not holding, a broader effort is needed to uncover the whereabouts and well-being of all four men.