Protest in UK over missing Pakistani activists

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

London [UK], Jan. 15 (ANI): Dozens of Pakistani human rights activists gathered outside the Pakistan High Commission in London to protest the disappearances of political activists. The protestors gathered under the banner of the Awami Workers Party (AWP), the UK arm of the socialist Pakistani political party, and called on the Pakistani government to ensure safe return of the activists, reports the Geo News. A number of critics and activists have reportedly disappeared across Pakistan and their whereabouts are unknown, despite assurances by Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar that updates about the activists would be released soon. Those who have disappeared include bloggers, poets, writers, and commentators and are known for their progressive and liberal online activism. The protesters also called upon the Pakistani authorities to respect the fundamental right of freedom of speech and assembly of citizens guaranteed by the Constitution. They said that they were deeply concerned about the disappearances of prominent progressive activists and were unable to ascertain who was behind them, but added that there was a clear pattern in the disappearances of the bloggers. A petition was also presented to the Pakistan High Commission which reminded the Pakistani government of its obligations towards protecting the rights of its citizens. Earlier this week, four bloggers and social media activists went missing from Islamabad, Lahore and Nankana Sahib in Pakistan. They were identifies as Salman Haider, Waqas Goraya, Asim Saeed, and Ahmed Reza Naseer. Following the developments, Human Rights Watch had also asked Pakistan to urgently investigate the apparent abductions of activists who campaigned for human rights and religious freedom, saying their near simultaneous disappearances raised concerns of government involvement. (ANI)