Missing Pakistani activist returns home after 7 months

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Islamabad, July 20 (IANS) Pakistani social activist Raza Mahmood Khan, who had been missing for the past seven months, has returned home, the media reported on Friday.

Raza, a convener of Aghaz-i-Dosti — a friendship initiative between the youth of India and Pakistan — was reportedly picked up by men in plainclothes from his Model Colony residence in Lahore on December 2, 2017.

Activists belonging to various rights groups, along with friends and family, had since been agitating for his release. They had condemned the “enforced disappearance” of activists and attempts to silence and harass those speaking up for peace and human rights, Dawn online reported.

Punjab province police said they found Khan 10 days ago. But they did not disclose further details about where the activist was found.

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Khan was in good health, according to a police official, but he was refraining from making a statement due to “security concerns”.

International rights organisation Amnesty International, in a statement issued following Khan’s disappearance, had demanded that the Pakistani government ensure the recovery of the Lahore-based activist.

“The Pakistani authorities must take all measures as may be necessary to investigate Raza Khan’s fate immediately,” Amnesty’s Deputy South Asia Director Dinushika Dissanayake had said.

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

Many incidents of disappeared social activists came to light recently. In early 2017, the news of six bloggers and civil rights activists going missing had elicited a strong response from activists in Pakistan and abroad.

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Prior to that, Zeenat Shahzadi, a young journalist who was investigating the disappearance of Hamid Ansari, an Indian, was abducted by armed men in Lahore in August 2015.



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