Monday 25 May 2020, 08:20 AM
Pakistan court orders intelligence agencies to find missing activist
By IANS | Bharat Defence Kavach | Publish Date: 12/22/2017 5:37:52 PM
Pakistan court orders intelligence agencies to find missing activist

Islamabad: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday ordered the intelligence agencies to look for missing activist Raza Mehmood Khan and present him in court as soon as possible after the police stated that they were unable to find the activist.

Justice Qazi Amin Ahmed conducted the third hearing in the case of Khan, who had gone missing from Lahore on December 2 prompting fears for his safety, Dawn online reported. Khan, in his late 30s, reportedly formed a group called Aaghaz-i-Dosti, a platform to further the cause of peace between India and Pakistan. 

He is also known for posting messages on social media critical of the Army and its alleged links with extremist groups. Khan was also active with a group working for environmental protection. Activists belonging to various rights groups, along with friends and family, have been agitating for his release. They claimed he has been unlawfully detained by the security agencies as he has been critical of them.

A social media campaign with hashtag #FindRaza was launched earlier this month demanding the safe return of the activist. Fellow activists have been holding peaceful gatherings pushing for Khan's recovery. An appeal was also made to President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

During the last hearing on December 18, Justice Amin had ordered the Station House Officer of Naseerabad police station to present Raza on the next (Friday's) hearing.  Advocate Asma Jahangir told the court that Raza's family had received phone calls from unidentified numbers and they told them that he'd soon be with his family.

The court ordered police and the intelligence agencies to expedite their efforts for locating the activist. It also asked the police to provide details of all missing persons cases. Amnesty International strongly criticized Khan's disappearance. Khan is said to be the seventh civil society activist to go missing this year. In January, six bloggers and civil rights activists were picked up in Islamabad and in the cities of Punjab, according to reports.

Apart from one, who remains missing, they returned to their homes within two months after protests and pressure from the international community. Since their return, the activists publicly spoke about torture at the hands of government agencies while in detention. Their interviews allege how military institutions held them hostage along with hundreds of other men and subjected them to constant abuse and sleep deprivation, along with other forms of physical, sexual and psychological torture.

There are 1,498 cases of enforced disappearances pending, with an investigative commission set up by the government to address the situation, according to a report submitted to Pakistan's Supreme Court. There was also widespread speculation that they were abducted on account of committing blasphemy. However, there was no proof of these claims and no one took responsibility for the activists disappearances, which brought hundreds of people onto the streets demanding their safe return.

Tags:

Lahore High Court,intelligence,environmental,belonging,Aaghaz

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