Forced disappearance condemned by rights group

Islamabad, Pakistan:

The police which denied any connection with the alleged abduction said they had not detained the activist. Arsalan’s family said they approached the police to lodge a complaint but officials refused, the Dawn newspaper reported.

Arsalan — known as AK-47 on Twitter — has worked for several Pakistani broadcasters and was currently associated with a Karachi civil society organisation.

“HRCP demands the immediate release of activist @AK_Forty7 Arsalan Khan who was allegedly picked up by the Rangers in Karachi. His whereabouts are presently unknown. Such illegal abductions and detentions are condemnable. The state must end the practice of enforced disappearances,” the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said in a statement.

“This incident follows upon the activist’s support for the families of missing MQM party workers in Karachi who have been demanding the recovery of their loved ones. HRCP demands that the state also release the missing party workers and hold all perpetrators accountable,” the group added.

London-based Amnesty International also issued a statement, expressing concern about his alleged disappearance. The group said Pakistan must end this abhorrent practice of punishing dissent by wrenching people away from their loved ones.

“Amnesty International is deeply concerned about the abduction of journalist Arsalan Khan (@AK_Forty7 ) from his home in Karachi today at 4:00 am. Pakistan must end this abhorrent practice of punishing dissent by wrenching people away from their loved ones,” the group said.

In the statement, Amnesty stressed that the newly-appointed Inter-Ministerial Committee on Missing Persons must take note of the jarring disconnect between what they are saying and what is actually happening on the ground.

The “arrest” of the social media activist and termed it a serious attack on freedom of expression, said the Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ).

It also alleged that Arsalan was “detained” by law enforcement agencies and that Pakistan law enforcers conducted a raid on his residence in Clifton and took him away.

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