Advocate Jacqueline Sultan, a Christian lawyer calls for release of activists who have been missing. At the same time she has urged the government to provide foolproof security to social activists who have been continuously targeted for their views. In recent days, five activists have gone missing, and the trend has alarmed rights campaigners and civil society.
Advocate Jacqueline who is an ardent human rights campaigner has expressed fear that the space for civil and social society is being constantly diminished; she maintains that certain anti-state elements are keenly striving to mute the voice of people who raise social issues. She said that unless our country starts practicing true democracy; people will not be able to enjoy their rights.
She said that in keeping with media reports five activists have gone missing; primarily for expressing their liberal views on social media. She demanded that government of Pakistan and civil society need to join forces and chalk out a policy in order to protect the rights activists.
Former Christian lawmaker Saleem Khursheed Khokhar who is a former member of provincial Assembly of Sindh said that the security of human rights activists must be stepped up. He said that life is not secure in Pakistan, especially for the journalists, minorities and human rights activists.
In recent days a fifth Pakistani social activist has gone missing from Islamabad; days after four other campaigners disappeared in a way that has alarmed supporters of free speech. The recent victim Samar Abbas, head of the Civil Progressive Alliance of Pakistan (CPAP), went missing on Saturday.
Responding to the alarming situation, Pakistan’s Interior Ministry has said it is going all out to recover the missing men. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar said: “This government is not in the business of disappearing people and we will not tolerate such disappearances while we are in power.”
In this regard, the UN and other international human rights organizations have expressed serious concerns about the increasing disappearances of the rights and social activists. In a statement, U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights emphasized the problems surrounding liberty of expression in Pakistan.
Another prominent Pakistani social media activist and human rights lawyer Jibran Nasir moved the apex court calling for a judicial intervention. The Supreme Court of Pakistan is yet to respond to his petition, seeking thorough inquiry and efficacious measures in providing security to the rights activists. “By intimidating and picking up social media activists like this, they have taken away our microphones,” Nasir said.