August 4, 2020

By Shere Azam


KARACHI: Families and friends of missing persons have carried on their protest against the state’s policy of enforced disappearances of perceived “threats” to the nation in front of the Karachi Press Club since the past week.

Among the many for which these protests are being held, Ali Haider Rizvi’s mother Salma Batool revealed that her son has been missing for 5 years, a 12th grade student at the time of his arrest on November 1, 2015. Ali Haider Rizvi was barely a teenager.

“I do not know for what crime he was taken away by people clad in police uniforms. I plead to the President of Pakistan and Prime Minister Imran Khan to produce my son in a court according to the law and Constitution of Pakistan. If he is an accused, then he should be punished according to the law.”

Those accused of maligning the reputation and the institutions of a country are termed “enemies of the state”. Once declared hostile to the nation, police and law enforcement agencies have free reign to detain such persons for interrogation, and arbitrarily releasing them upon lack of any concrete evidence.

Syed Aftab Ali Naqvi has been missing for 4 years. His sister, Syeda Kaneez Zainab, said that she does not know if her brother is even alive or dead. Her mother passed away in grief not knowing if her son was still drawing breath, while her father is on his death bed.

“He is waiting for his son, hoping he would shoulder his father’s corpse. How long will we wait? So far we have not celebrated any happy moment in our lives in the absence of my brother.”

On the other hand, Advocate Abdul Haleem Bughio of Karachi City Court stated that according to Article 10-A of the Constitution, every citizen of Pakistan has the right to a fair trial. “As an advocate, I implore the government to direct law enforcement agencies to not act above the law, and produce detainees before the courts as per law.”