Members of civil society in Pakistan, individuals, concerned citizens, organisations, friends and well-wishers organised a twitter campaign in solidarity with missing Pakistani peace activist Raza Mahmood Khan on Saturday, 2nd June, 2018, marking the exact six months since his enforced disappearance.
Raza Mahmood Khan has been missing since 2nd December 2017. He was “picked up” from him rented home in Lahore by unknown suspects. Raza was last seen at a public discussion organised at Lowkey-Lokai in the aftermath of the Faizabad protests by religious hardliners.
The Lahore High Court disposed off Raza’s case after having confirmed that alternative investigation agencies such as Commission of Enforced Disappearances are conducting further investigation to recover Raza Khan. It has now been 6 months since Raza disappeared. The Military Intelligence (MI) and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) have denied any role in his abduction.
Raza Khan is certainly not an isolated in the rapidly escalating trend of enforced disappearances in Pakistan to curb free-speech, silence critics of the state and its institutions. The Pashtum Tahafuz Movement has led a revolutionary and historical movement against extrajudicial killings and abductions of this ethnic community. The movement is gaining movement under the leadership of activist Manzoor Pashteen. Meanwhile protests have also intensified by civil society members and human rights organisations in Sindh against ‘enforced disappearances.’
Raza’s family, friends and well-wishers deeply aggrieved by his prolonged disappearance turned to social media once again to raise their voice for not only missing peace activist Raza Khan, but all missing persons. On Twitter, many human rights defenders, activists, journalists, peace educators, representatives of political parties, and friends of Raza and other missing persons demanded the release of all missing persons with #FindRaza and #ReleaseMissingPersons
Usman Khan writes,
“Raza is an idea, a thought, a progressive innovation, a need. His work for peace is not an ordinary theory, instead a living example of service of humanity. Let’s bring him back. Speak together to #FindRaza”
Raza Ahmad Rumi states,
“Activism for #peace between #India & #Pakistan is not a crime. Wanting a different future for #youth is not a sin. Informed & conscientious citizenry is the backbone of a robust society. Why has #RazaKhan gone missing? #FindRaza”
M.Jibran Nasir urges concerned citizens to spare a moment in solidarity with friends and families of all missing person —
“#FindRaza #ReleaseMissingPersons Please help us tonight 10:00 PM PST by tweeting or posting on social media. Your 1 minute can be a ray of hope 4 friends and families of missing persons.”
Marvi Sirmed writes,
“It has been 6 mo this that Raza has been missing. Please join us raising voice for his safe return. We dont even know what crime he has been charged. Or even, has he been charged at all. If not, state has no right to keep him in custody. It is abduction. It is a crime. #FindRaza”
“Peace lovers around Globe are requested please raise your voice for #Raza and all other #Missingpersons.Just take one minute from your busy schedule do one tweet by using #FindRaza.Thank you in advance #FindRaza #SaveBalochMissingPersons #SavePashtuns #SaveBSOLeaders #SaveSindhi”
Aisha Amir Ahmad says,
“6 months ago, Raza disappeared. He has not been produced in court. The court has handed it off to the Commission on Enforced Disappearances. Who will #FindRaza? Who will #BringBackRaza? #ReleaseMissingPersons, bring them to trial if you believe them to be criminals. #NotonMyWatch”
Aliena Ali states,
“According article 13 it has been declared that state shall take instant measures to bring back the missing person and no such measure will be taken which can delay the investigation but it has been 6 months already and state has failed to bring Raza back. #FindRaza”
Ravi Nitesh, Aghaz e Dosti Convenor in India talks about Raza’s work,
“For an ordinary Indian student, talking first time with Pakistani students in classroom connect program of @aaghazedosti ws an eye opener to break stereotypes. It resulted in building bonds of love n friendship through thread of humanity. This is what Raza did. #FindRaza”
Shah Meer Baloch tweets,
“Suppressing and crushing dissenting ideas would never make peace. Whisking away People who don’t buy your narrative will give birth to a flood. If you keep suppressing the dissents then it will produce a cyclone. And take away everything.”
Muhammad Kashan Khan writes,
“This is a ridiculous broth on the name of democracy. PPl like Rao Anwar move in a VIP custody who has murdered 100+ innocent but #Raza who taught peace is abducted blindly, if he’s been alleged of something, we want his free trial.”
Ali R. Changezi writes about Raza,
“To not want war & violence is a threat for those who thrive due to war economy.”
And lastly, I quote a tweet which talks about the beauty of Raza’s message that makes Pakistan a loved nation by people of other nationalities. An Indian citizen, Abha writes,
“As an Indian, I have been extremely fortunate to see Pakistan through the eyes of Raza, to feel Pakistan through the kindness of his gestures and to sense the pulse of young Pakistan through his vibrant sense of civic responsibility. I sincerely pray for his safe return”.
How does this make Raza a threat to Pakistan?