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Relatives of missing persons take to street again

By Ikram Junaidi 2014-03-28
ISLAMABAD: After around one month, the relatives of missing persons held a protest rally in the city but were stopped from proceeding towards Parliament House on Thursday.

It was perhaps for the first time in the history of Pakistan that a device was used to electrically shock some of the protesters who were insisting on moving towards the parliament building.

Headed by chairperson Defence of Human Rights (DHR) Amina Masood Janjua, the relatives of the missing persons first held a protest at D. Chowk and chanted slogans for the release of their loved ones.

After an hour, they started marching towards the Parliament House but just after walking a few yards the police stopped them.

In the meantime, some people in plainclothes and holding a black device resembling an electric torch entered the rally and touched some of the participants with it.

Kamran Minhas, the coordinator of the DHR, told Dawn that four relatives of the missing persons who were desperate to go to the Parliament House weregiven electric shock with the device by the unidentified people.

`I contacted Assistant Commissioner Waqas and requested him to look into the matter because the people in plainclothes were acting inhumanly.

He said the police had already decided not to allow the protesters to move towards the parliament building so they even pushed back the wheelchair of Ms Janjua, he said.

Ms Janjua while addressing the participants said the relatives of the missing persons had been protesting for the last many years but there was no one to resolve their problems.

`The Supreme Court took up the issue but majority of the relatives of the missing persons could not get any good news. If there are charges against the detained persons, they should be produced in the courts,` she said.

Ms Janjua announced that the DHR would organise a big protest on April 28.

She appealed to the decision makers to take steps to stop enforced disappearances in the country.

EVERY PROTESTER HAS A TALE: Farooq Khan while talking to Dawn said his brother Hafiz Saqib Ali, a primary schoolteacher, has been missing since May 20, 2013, from Dhamtour, a village in the Abbottabad district.

`Saqib, 26, was going to a mosque for Fajar prayers when personnel of some intelligence agencies riding around 10 vehicles abducted him,` he said.

Another protester, Malang Khan, add-ed that his 67-year-old brother Gul Fageer, father of 11 children, was even unable to walk properly.

`In August 2011, while Fageer was working in a factory in Attock, army personnel took him away along with Ayaz Mohammad. They were kept on the premises of the Kohat jail from where Ayaz was released after seven months.

However, my brother is still in the custody of the army. The army allowed me to meet my brother and I found him in a miserable condition,` he added.

An elderly person, Mansab Khan, said his son Mohammad Rasheed, 32, was Lance Hawaldar in the army and posted at Sargodha. He was arrested by the army in 2007.

`I have tried my best but no one has allowed me to meet my son. I even don`t know if my son is alive or not,` he said.

Um-i-Mudassar said her 37-year-oldson Mudassar Iqbal was arrested from Lahore in 2010.

`I was expecting that the Supreme Court will recover my son but there is still no progress. Nawaz Sharif used to say that he would recover the missing persons but after coming to power he has forgotten his promises,` he said.

The relatives of 25-year-old Ilyas Khan said he disappeared from Peshawar on March 14, 2013. Mohammad Amir, 21, was abducted from Bhakhar on March 23, 2013; Engineer Abdul Kareem disappeared from Lahore on February 23, 2014, while Zainul Abideen was picked from Dir on June 7, 2012.The relatives of Zakir Shah, who has been missing from Peshawar on May 4, 2010, polio team worker Bakht Munir,abducted on June 8, 2011, Arifullah picked on March 30, 2010, from Bannu; Rizwan Asghar, abducted from Gujrat in2013, Mohammad Yaqoob, disappeared from Lakki Marwat, and others were also present.