Language Sites
  • UCAN China
  • UCAN India
  • UCAN Indonesia
  • UCAN Vietnam

Activists call for recovery of missing Pakistan bloggers

Church, rights campaigners express fears over fate of four men who disappeared within the space of a week

Activists call for recovery of missing Pakistan bloggers

Pakistani human rights activists hold images of bloggers who have gone missing during a protest in Peshawar on Jan. 10. The missing men are Salman Haider, a poet and academic, and bloggers Waqas Goraya, Aasim Saeed, and Ahmad Raza Naseer. The four went missing from various cities between Jan. 4 and Jan. 7. (Photo by AFP) reporter, Karachi

January 11, 2017

Mail This Article
(For more than one recipient, type addresses separated by commas)

Church and rights campaigners in Pakistan have expressed alarm over the mysterious disappearance of four progressive activists and bloggers in the space of a week.

Salman Haider, a college professor and poet, Ahmad Waqas Goraya, author of a left-wing blog site Rationalist Society of Pakistan, as well as Asim Saeed and Ahmed Raza Naseer, who run Twitter accounts promoting liberal views went missing in Lahore and Islamabad last week.

Although it’s not yet clear who is behind the disappearances, they are being seen as an attempt to silence voices critical of state policies, extremists and human rights abuses.

A series of protests has been announced by activists in Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore to demand the safe return of the missing men.

The Catholic bishop’s National Commission for Justice and Peace has also expressed grave concern over the disappearances that took place between Jan. 4 and Jan 5.

"The missing professor and the others were talking for people. If they seemed provocative, they could have been brought to court and given a chance to defend themselves. I am all with them,” Father Emmanuel Yousaf Mani, national director of the NCJP, told  

In a statement issued on Jan. 9, Pakistan’s independent human rights commission called for the return of the activists and urged the government to fulfil its obligation to provide a safe environment for human rights defenders.

"Pakistan has never been a particularly safe country for rights activists. Many have been killed, injured, abducted and threatened for their work," the commission said in a statement.

"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 looked 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, the statement added.

Hamid Mir, a well-known Pakistani journalist and host of a popular talk show, survived an assassination attempt in 2014.


UCAN needs your support to continue our independent journalism
Access to UCAN stories is completely free of charge - however it costs a significant amount of money to provide our unique content. UCAN relies almost entirely on donations from our readers and donor organizations that support our mission. If you are a regular reader and are able to support us financially, please consider making a donation. Click here to donate now.