August 31st, 2020 

                                     VOICEPK.NET: SPECIAL REPORT


LAHORE;

A special report by Voicepk.net for the International Day for Victims of Enforced Disappearances has recapped the testimonials and video interviews of those who have been abducted as well as families of other victims who have been missing across the country.

While the victims of forced abduction speak of their fear and pain as well as what they faced after they were abducted, Voicepk.net has also collected heartbreaking accounts of family members who have lived for too long in strife without their loved ones. They describe their struggle and helplessness in only trying to get the word about their whereabouts.

The culture of enforced disappearances, says veteran human rights activist I.A Rehman, took root in the country in the 1990s.

“In 1994, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) first investigated reports of ‘missing persons’ from Balochistan which at that time was not as restive as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, (then known as Northwest Frontier Province),” he says. The cases of missing persons saw an increase in the country following the September 11 attacks in the United States. In Balochistan, missing persons increased significantly after the death of Nawab Akbar Bugti in 2006.

Meanwhile in KP, ‘missing persons’ went up in numbers as the government launched successive military operations to stem Taliban insurgency in Swat and tribal areas, peaking in 2006 to 2007, according to Afrasiab Khattak, the former senator, and human rights campaigner.

The Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances, that was set up on the directives of the Supreme Court, has about 6,650 cases, says I A Rehman. “The highest number of cases (2,562) are from KP followed by 1,616 cases from Sindh,” he said. “However, human rights activists and campaigners doubt the figures from the government-appointed commission saying that victims and families often do not approach the commission for fear of reprisal. The number of cases of enforced disappearances is much higher than reported.”

Activists have called for legislation to deal with cases of enforced disappearances but successive political governments have not taken up the matter seriously.

This Voicepk.net interview video of Haseeba Qambrani, an activist from Balochistan, went viral on social media recently. All three of Haseeba’s brothers were abducted. She has already received the mutilated dead body of one of them, after which her other two brothers Hizbullah and Hassan were abducted on Feb 14, 2020. Here she speaks about her ordeal at a protest for Baloch missing persons in June.

Muhammad Amin, a resident of Karachi was dragged out of his house by the Sindh Rangers and plainclothes men on July 14, 2020, not to be seen until some weeks later. His sister Saira Bano who lives with their ailing mother, went from door to door for any information, explains here in detail how the abduction was carried out: Amin is thankfully back home, but the fear remains.

Aqib Chandio, a 20-year-old student, was abducted from his home in Karachi on July 7, 2020, by plainclothesmen. Aqib had been abducted once before on May 30, 2018. He had been home for a mere nine months before he was picked up again. Here, his sister Shazia Chandio describes the ordeal.

 

Meanwhile, Matiullah Jan, a senior journalist, was also abducted from Islamabad, outside a school where his wife works, on July 21, 2020. Matiullah says that “the people who abducted me do not want democracy in Pakistan”. In a video he made himself, he has detailed his experience as someone who was abducted.

 

Syed Ali Haider Rizvi, a resident of Karachi, was abducted by Sindh Rangers from his home five years ago. His mother Salma Batool urges President Arif Alvi to listen to her plight and help recover her son however no response has come.

 

Syed Qamar Abbas Rizvi, a resident of Karachi, was abducted by the Sindh Rangers from his home on Feb 25, 2017. His wife Mehwish and his young children have been attending protests for the recovery of other Shia missing persons from Karachi.

 

Another Shia missing person from Karachi is Syed Ali Aftab Naqvi, who was abducted by Sindh Rangers from his home on Feb 25, 2017. His young daughter Zainab has been attending protests for his recovery for some time now but two years later, the future seems bleak.

 

One of the most well-known cases is that of Idris Khattak, a human rights activist fro KP who was abducted by unidentified personnel on Nov 13, 2019, near Swabi. Khattak’s case received media attention, and as voices demanding his release grew, it took seven months for the military to finally confirm that they had Idris in custody. His daughter Talia Khattak has been campaigning for his release.

 

Other Shia missing persons include Ebad-ul-Hassan and Syed Ali Hyder.

Ebad was sitting outside his house in Karachi when he was forcefully abducted by Sindh Rangers on July 6, 2017. His father Riaz-ul-Hassan Zaidi is campaigning for his release ever since. Recently he spoke at a protest.

 

Syed Ali Hyder, an 18-year-old boy, was abducted 5 years ago. His father, Syed Mardan Ali Rizvi, who is an active member of the joint action committee for Shia Missing Persons has raised his voice for his release ever since.

Meanwhile one of the more recent cases was that of Sarang Joyo, a well-known activist and researcher of Karachi, who was abducted from his house at midnight between August 10 and 11, 2020. Only after his father Taj Joyo protested and refused the Presidential Pride of Performance Award over his son’s abduction, did Sarang finally return home. Here is his interview.


Naseem Baloch a student of LLB was also abducted from Karachi on May 14, 2019, while returning home from a library he frequented. His fiance Hani Baloch gave Voicepk.net an interview in this regard.

Journalist and poet, Mudassir Naru disappeared on Aug 20, 2018, while vacationing in Kaghan with his wife and six-month-old child. For the last two years, his family has been struggling to find out what happened to him, and whether he is alive or dead but as in the case of others, no information has surfaced.

 

One activist who returned home and spoke about his plight in an exclusive conversation with Voicepk.net is Mohsin Abdali one of the main organizers of the Student Solidarity March who was abducted from his house by “unidentified men” in Lahore on Jan 30, 2020. He was held for 12 hrs, without any charges brought against him.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here