Categorized | South Asian Politics

Missing Journalist Zeenat Shahzadi’sfamily and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan believe Pakistan’s Special Forces are responsible

Posted on 25 October 2017 by admin

On Saturday August 19, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression held a rally at City Hall in downtown Toronto to mark the second anniversary of the brazen, daylight abduction of 24-year old Pakistani journalist Zeenat Shahzadi from a busy street in Lahore, Pakistan. Shahzadi’s family and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan believe Pakistan’s Special Forces are responsible, The rally was held ‘to pressure Canada to intervene with the Pakistani government and urge them to immediately order a full investigation of Zeenat’s kidnapping’. Organizers also expressed solidarity with all the victims of enforced disappearances in Pakistan. Members of the Committee of Progressive Pakistani-Canadians attended the rally and distributed the following statement: ‘August 30 is the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances State persecution of progressives, leftists, socialists and communists has a long history in Pakistan. Over the years uncounted numbers have been arrested, hundreds tortured and many have died due to the severe pain and torment inflicted on them. Since the reign of General Musharraf (1999 – 2008), however, disappearances have increased greatly in number. Current estimates of the disappeared range from 5,000 to 15,000 according to some political and human rights groups in Pakistan. It is the Baloch nationalists and activists who have suffered the most grievously in this regard but in more recent years disappearances have spread to Sindh, Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa and Punjab and include political activists, human rights defenders, journalists and lawyers. The disappearances are widely believed to be the work of secret state agencies. No information is provided about the health of the disappeared or the locations they are being held in. Many disappeared people are often found dead, their bodies bearing bullet wounds and marks of torture. The government has not brought forward one perpetrator to face justice. We appeal to the Government of Pakistan that, in accordance with the constitution of the country and international law, it must: – Immediately end all disappearances by the state – Release all those presently so detained and try them in open court for alleged misdeeds if any – Punish those responsible for disappearances, and for the torture and deaths of the disappeared. – Provide reparations to victims and their families.

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