Islamabad, Pakistan – Five Pakistani activists, who were missing from Islamabad on January 6, have returned home in the early hours of Saturday.
Salman Haider and Ahmed Raza Naseer were among five activists who disappeared over the course of four days across Punjab province and from Islamabad.
Their disappearances prompted a series of protests by rights groups across the country, calling for the government to locate the men, or for them to be produced in a court to face formal charges if they had been detained by the state’s intelligence agencies.
The activist did not say who kidnapped them or handed them over to the police. Police said Haider who was a noted progressive activist, poet, and university lecturer was abducted while on his way home on the outskirts of the Pakistani capital Islamabad was in good shape but his family refused to comment.
Naseer was abducted from his electronics shop in his native village just outside the town of Nankana Sahib in Punjab province on January 7.
Samar Abbas, Asim Saeed, and Ahmed Waqas Goraya were either abducted or reported missing. Saeed and Goraya were known for managing Mochi, a well-known anti-military Facebook page.They disappeared from Lahore on January 4.
Interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan ordered the police and other organizations to expedite efforts for Haider’s recovery and to use all available resources.
Lawmakers of the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party submitted a calling attention notice in the National Assembly Secretariat regarding the disappearance of Haider. In the notice he said. “It is highly concerning that activists and intellectuals from other parts of the country have also gone missing in the last one week. This is a serious matter and needs an immediate response from the government.”
According to Defence of Human Rights, the issue of enforced disappearances is not new for Pakistan. Rights activists allege that there are thousands of people who have been “disappeared” by the state, with some allegedly killed while in custody. By the end of 2014, the number of people missing and feared dead in the country rose to 5,149.