Four Shia ‘missing’ persons returned home

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–ISPR DG says army ‘shares the pain of families of missing persons’

KARACHI: Four people, who had gone ‘missing’ four years ago, have returned home, said Missing Persons’ Relatives Committee (MPRC) head Rashid Rizvi on Friday.

According to a report in a local media outlet, 27 people who forcibly disappeared have returned home, whereas the release of eight more people is also in progress.

It may be noted here Rizvi along with the members of the Shia community had held a sit-in outside President Arif Alvi’s house in Karachi for two weeks to demand the release of the ‘missing’ Shia persons. The sit-in was only ended after these people were released, with the authorities assuring that all the people will be home soon.

The protesters had alleged that 23 people had been taken away from Karachi in a new wave of “enforced disappearances” and their whereabouts were not known.

The recent disappearances were in addition to 22 people who have been ‘missing’ for the past two or three years, the demonstrators had said.

In order to discourage the sit-in, an FIR was launched against these demonstrators over ‘anti-state activities’ and the Karachi police later arrested 26 people from the site of the protest.

However, these people were released on Thursday after 12 hours.  Rizvi had said that these people were detained to stop them from joining the sit-in.

As the issue of enforced disappearances continues to plague the country, Pakistan Army’s spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor also took to Twitter via his personal account to give in his two cents.

In a tweet, he said, “Our hearts beat with families of every missing person. We share their pain and we are with them in the process of tracing them.”

“Thousands of soldiers have laid lives for [the] security of fellow Pakistanis. Can’t harm anyone” while adding that “let none exploit the issue on whatever context. With you,” said Gen Ghafoor.

Last month, during a press conference, Gen Ghafoor said some elements were trying to mislead the people to provoke them against Pakistan and its institutions. He assured the people that the armed forces were working tirelessly to solve their problems, including Pashtun Tahafuz Movement’s (PTM) demand for the recovery of missing persons.

The armed forces would not rest until their issues were resolved, he said, hoping they would not pay heed to “rhetoric and instead will stop these anti-state forces”.

Ghafoor had also taken up the issue of missing persons during his recent media interaction, which focussed on the PTM and its demands.

“[The issue of] missing persons were their third demand [and] they created a list of those missing persons. The list has shortened to 2,500 cases today and the [missing persons] commission is working day and night to resolve those cases,” he said.

In addition to Pashtun and Shia missing persons, the Baloch community led by Mama Qadeer, the chairman of Voice of Baloch Missing Persons, has also been protesting for decades for the recovery of their loved ones.

In Jan, around a dozen people missing for many years reached home over the past three days in different areas of Balochistan, including Kalat, Mashkay, Noshki, Gwadar and Pasni.

According to reports, after the assurance of Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani and Home Minister Zia Ahmed Langove to the leaders of the Voice of Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) recently, the missing persons started reaching their homes.