Pakistan court orders police to explain activist’s disappearance

Islamabad: The Lahore High Court on Wednesday called on the police to explain the disappearance of Raza Mahmood Khan, an activist who formed a group to promote peaceful relations with India.

Judge Anwar ul Haq ordered the chief of police in charge of the investigation to update the court on December 19 on the progress of the inquiry into the disappearance of Khan, who was last seen on December 2, Dawn online reported.

The hearing was conducted on a petition filed by Hamid Nasir Mahmood, the missing activist’s brother.

Khan, in his late 30s, reportedly formed a group called Aaghaz-i-Dosti, a platform to further the cause of peace between India and Pakistan. He was also active with a group working for environmental protection.

The activist is also known for posting messages on social media critical of the Army and its alleged links with extremist groups.

Activists belonging to various rights groups, along with friends and family, have been agitating for Khan’s release.

Amnesty International strongly criticized Khan’s disappearance and called on Pakistani authorities to take all available measures to locate him.

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

Five activists who criticized the government and religious extremism online went missing for almost a month in January 2016.

After they resurfaced, two of the activists accused Pakistan’s intelligence services of having kidnapped and tortured them.

However, the Army denied any involvement in their disappearance.