Raza Mahmood Khan, human rights activist and convenor of Aghaz-i-Dosti, initiative of friendship between the youth of India and Pakistan, was whisked away by ‘unidentified persons’ near his workplace in Lahore late last year.
Despite, soon after the ‘disappearing’ of him, the strong protest against his ‘disappearing’ by human rights groups in the country, and the strong demands of international human rights groups to the government to make concrete and effective efforts for the early and safe recovery of him, there is no information about his whereabouts, there wasn’t in the past and is not at the moment. It appears that the government is not making any effort for his release, let alone a “concrete and effective” one.
Talking about the incident of enforced disappearance of Raza in the Senate at the start of this year, Senator Fahrattullah Babar of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) had said that the people who have views that differ with that of ‘the state institutions’ are forcefully abducted in the country. While referring to the enforced abduction of some bloggers who were later released, but had refused to describe anything about the ordeal they encountered during the period of their extra-judicial detention, Mr. Babar presented a sensible proposal that the released bloggers should be summoned in the Senate and encouraged to describe things they know and want to share about their abduction, but can’t due to the fear of reprisals. But, unfortunately, like other several sensible suggestions on other several critical issues, that too didn’t receive the kind of keenness and attention that it actually demanded and deserved.
Keeping in mind the fact that Raza held non-aggressive views about his neighbouring country—a practice that can easily qualify you to be heretic or unpatriotic, and can instantly become deadly in this land of pure and patriots— it shouldn’t be difficult to comprehend the ‘unidentified abductors of Raza’ and many of his ilk.
In a country where exists a lot of instances of cases being filed against young cricket fans who openly show and express their love for their favourite Indian cricketers, it shouldn’t be surprising or bewildering at all that Raza has been abducted for his advocacy for peace with the neighbouring country. But in reality it is extremely surprising and bewildering just because of the recent revelations of clandestine but lovely relations between two ex-spy chiefs of both countries in a book co-authored by both of them. It is okay that you secretly meet with them, exchange loving words with them, drink wine with them, visit different capitals with them, demand favours from them and write books with them etc, but a common man cannot even openly show his love for his favourite sportsman belonging to the neighbouring country, or the youth of this country cannot even talk with the youth of the neighbouring country—why?
Written by Naseem Naz.