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January 31, 2017

Two missing activists still untraced


January 31, 2017

ISLAMABAD: As the news of disappeared activists returning home has caught the eyes of the media, at least two amongst them are still untraced, their families told The News.

Among the recently “abducted” social media activists, Karachi based Samar Abbas, who went “missing” from Islamabad and Abdur-Rehman Cheema, cousin of recently returned Ahmad Waqas Goraya from Lahore, have still not returned home.

Families told this correspondent that they are still waiting for their kith and kin contrary to the claims of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan who on Monday night said all social media activists have safely returned homes.

“Chaudhry Nisar claims all missing activists are back home but we are still waiting for Samar Abbas,” abducted activist’s elder brother Asha’ar Abbas told The News, adding, “We are continuously pursuing Islamabad Police but there is no satisfactory reply.” He said they plan to move the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in a day if Samar does not return.

Samar Abbas, in mid 30s and father of three, with his know affiliation with a minority Muslim sect, went missing from G-11 sector of Islamabad. According to police report, Samar Abbas came to Islamabad from Karachi on Jan 3 and last made contact with his family via SMS on the night between Jan 7 and 8. While, his elder brother succeeded in lodging police case after his disappearance on January 15.

Abdur Rehman Cheema, nearly 35 and father of one child, went with Waqas Goraya on January 4 on motorbike. “Goraya came back a couple of days ago while his cousin is not back yet adding to our worries, Liaqat Ali, father of Goraya,” told The News. Still unrecovered Cheema is bother of Abdullah Cheema, a religious activist who spoke against Goraya on a local television channel criticising his posts on social media. According to family sources, Abdullah remained associated with an extremist outfit supporting Jihad in Indian Held Kashmir (IHK).

Four returned activists are also keeping quiet not sharing in details even with the families. “My son is quiet for last two days. He seems frightened and just want to sleep or stay alone,” father of one of recently recovered activist told The News. Asim Saeed, one of the returned activists who was working in an IT company, has also quietly left the country on his return. Another family of recovered has moved its place to ensure security amid allegations of blasphemy and threats by certain groups. One of the family members told The News according to their knowledge the number of missing activists was nearly two dozen but many cases were not reported in media. These activists are from various backgrounds and ideologies from religious to liberal, family member said.

Among recovered ones, Islamabad-based Salman Haider was a poet, teacher, activist supporting leftist political groups. He is editor of an online publication Tanqeed. Samar Abbas is based in Karachi and runs Civil Progressive Alliance Pakistan on Facebook. Waqas Goraya is temporarily settled in the Netherlands for study. Asim Saeed is an IT graduate and works in an IT company in Singapore. Ahmed Naseer, another returned activist, is from Nankana and has no history of social media activism. Some of these social media activists have no history of any activism except criticising some state polices or action and contrary to all of these portrayals in sections of local and international media as “bloggers” not one of them have written any blog according to their traced social media history.

Civil society groups and many politicians are demanding the state and government to clearly tell people who and why these activists were picked and how they were recovered. They have also demanded the state to tell the reasons behind their disappearance otherwise such examples of abducting people and suddenly sending them back homes with directions to keep quiet will set bad example and affect the state’s reputation.


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