Islamabad: Blasphemy accusations leveled against missing human rights activist

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An application seeking registration of a blasphemy case against missing human rights activist Salman Haider has been filed in Islamabad’s I-9 Police Station. The complainant had maintained in his application that a blasphemy case should be registered against Salman Haider and four other bloggers. The complainant demanded that all five of them must be dealt with in line with Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code.

Human Rights activists in Pakistan

The applicant maintained that the said people had been running pages on a social media platform and had been posting content derogatory towards Islam and the state. The other four nominated in this application are Waqas Goraya, Asim Saeed, Ahmad Raza and Samar Abbas. Professor Salman Haider teaches at a local college in Islamabad.

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The respondents went missing recently; igniting widespread condemnation from the human rights groups. In this regard, Human Rights Watch said in a statement, “All four men were vocal critics of militant religious groups and Pakistan’s military establishment, and used the internet to disseminate their views. Their near simultaneous disappearance and the government’s shutting down of their websites and blogs raises grave concerns of government involvement.”

After the mysterious disappearances, many activists are expressing concerns about the security of the human rights activists in the country. While remarking about this case, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Interior Minister said that the disappearances are being dealt with on urgent basis. He said that the government’s primary goal was to recover the missing activists. “Enforced disappearances are not the policy of the Government of Pakistan, and it will not tolerate them. Pakistan is a democratic, constitutional country.”

The Interior Minister detailed that on January 6, Friday, Salman Haider was allegedly abducted by unidentified men on the outskirts of Islamabad. Other bloggers Waqas Goraya and Asim Saeed went missing from Lahore on January 4, police detailed. Ahmad Raza Naseer, was allegedly abducted from Nankana Sahib on January 7.

In a statement Pakistan People’s Party said: “The pattern of these disappearances suggests that it is a planned and coordinated action, undertaken to silence voices which are critical of prevalent socio-political issues in Pakistan. This is a serious matter and needs immediate response from the government.”

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