Pakistan: Peace activist missing

Responding to the news that Lahore-based Pakistani peace activist Raza Khan has gone missing, Amnesty International’s Deputy South Asia Director, Dinushika Dissanayake, said:

“The Pakistani authorities must take all measures as may be necessary to investigate Raza Khan's fate immediately.

“Scarcely does a week go by without Amnesty International receiving reports of people going missing in Pakistan. Many of them may have been subjected to enforced disappearances, which is a crime under international law.

Scarcely does a week go by without Amnesty International receiving reports of people going missing in Pakistan. Many of them may have been subjected to enforced disappearances, which is a crime under international law
Dinushika Dissanayake, Deputy South Asia Director

“In October, Pakistan was elected to the UN Human Rights Council on a pledge to uphold universal human rights for all. But we’ve seen few effective attempts to investigate these disappearances and no one has ever been held accountable for them.

“Raza Khan’s alleged disappearance in Lahore comes as London Mayor Sadiq Khan is visiting the city. We hope the mayor calls on the Pakistani authorities to immediately establish his whereabouts and return him to his family.”

Background

Raza Khan, a peace activist, has not been seen or heard from since Saturday 2nd December, when he left his office in Lahore’s Garden Town neighbourhood.

Enforced disappearances are a blight on Pakistan’s human rights record, with hundreds and possibly thousands of cases reported across the country over the past several years. Victims of enforced disappearances are at considerable risk of torture and other ill-treatment and, very often, even death. To date, not a single person suspected of criminal responsibility for the crime has been brought to justice.

Over recent years, enforced disappearances – once limited to the restive parts of Baluchistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces – have spread deep into Pakistan’s main urban centres.

Pakistan’s Commission on Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances received nearly 300 cases of alleged enforced disappearances from August to October 2017, by far the largest number in a three-month period in recent years. Over the past two months, Amnesty International has received credible reports of an alarming number of enforced disappearances of Baluch students and activists.