April 3, 2021

By Shere Azam


Family and friends of Shia missing persons have set up a protest camp at Karachi’s Numaish Chowrangi, demanding the immediate recovery of their loved ones. Protesters say that many of the disappeared persons were picked up in their youth, and since then scores have gone by without any word of their whereabouts.

The camp is part of a nation-wide movement launched by the Joint Action Committee for Shia Missing Persons (JACSMP) for the recovery of victims of enforced disappearances from the minority Muslim community.

Women, children, senior citizens, youths and Shia scholars from all corners of Karachi have convened at the Shah Khorasan near Soldier Bazaar for the movement’s focal sit-in.

One woman stated that her husband, Abrar Rizvi, has been missing for the past two years, and his family is completely unaware of whether he is alive or dead.

“I ask the so-called ‘riyasat-e-Madina’… where is my husband? What condition is he in? If he has committed a crime, then he should be brought to justice. It is against the law to vanish someone like this!” she said.

Abrar’s minor son, who has been protesting since the disappearance of his father, asserted that he will continue raising his voice until his father is finally released.

Young Jabeen revealed that she and her family have been trying to get their father back by petitioning whoever they possibly could for the past four years, and to date have yet to hear back.

“If [the missing persons] have committed any crime, legal action should be taken against them. The least they can do is tell us where they are. Now we have decided that we will remain in the streets until our loved ones come home.”

Syed Ali Haider’s mother told Voicepk.net that her son was barely 18 years old when law enforcement personnel broke into their home and abducted him before their eyes. It has been five-and-a-half years since the day her life was turned upside down.

“I do not know what state he is in,” she stated. “I am not asking [law enforcement] to release my son. I want to know what crime he has committed. The courts are there to award punishments, at least bring him to court.”

An elderly woman at the sit-in said that some missing persons’ parents and sisters have passed away in wait.

“My son has been missing for three years. I beg the higher authorities to recover our loved ones.” We appeal to the higher authorities to release our loved ones.

Shia scholars at the camp stated that the authorities have repeatedly assured families of missing persons of their recovery, with President Arif Alvi also extending the same hope, but none kept their promise.