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HRCP demands quick recovery of missing activists

Lahore : The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed grave concern over four rights activists going missing in Lahore and Islamabad over the last few days. It has demanded their immediate recovery.

In a statement issued on Monday, the Commission said: “HRCP is greatly alarmed by Waqas Goraya and Asim Saeed disappearing on January 4, Salman Haider on Friday and Ahmed Raza Naseer on Saturday. All four are known for airing their views, sometime critical of authority, extremism and intolerance, on social media.

“HRCP is not in a position to determine the actors involved, but Pakistan has never been a particularly safe country for rights activists. Many have been killed, injured, abducted and threatened for their work. Unfortunately, these actions have not always come from non-state quarters.

“The events of the last week demonstrate that the dangers already extend to digital spaces. We cannot be sure if the four cases are connected but expect that would be looking into as well.

“At the moment, the most important thing is the immediate recovery of all four. We hope the authorities will respond to the urgency of the task at hand.

“Threats and violence have never deterred Pakistan’s activists from speaking their mind and flagging issues that conscious citizens must raise in a civilized society. We know that the events of the last few days, will not change that. At the same time, however, HRCP also implores the government to wake up to its obligation to provide a safe environment for human rights defenders and activists.”

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