A few months earlier this newspaper had already warned that specific practices that the state and its institutions were involved in had brought the country on the cusp of transforming it into a fascist one. However, it seems that the warnings fell on deaf ears. . On the top of the list of such actions is the practice of forceful disappearances. It is important to mention that the tradition of forceful abduction is as damaging as terrorism is to the nation. It perpetuates resentment which is one of the leading contributors to people’s involvement in dissident groups – especially in Balochistan

In Pakistan, people can go missing for protesting the illegal abductions of people, which goes against the law of the land. Protest against any injustice is an inalienable right of the populace. The state cannot shy away from meeting the legitimate demands of masses by silencing them through one way or other.

Admitting that the facts are little known in the case of the disappeared students of Karachi University about the people who kidnapped them, however, all the circumstantial evidence indicates state’s involvement in the abductions. Nevertheless, the students have been released; this does not mean that the state will not resolve to such coercive measures in future.

Since last year, som elements in the state apparatus have been relying on picking up individuals to curtail the dissent. Dissidents are abducted, tortured and in worst-case scenario killed. All those who managed to return held the state institutions responsible for their abduction and the torture inflicted upon them.

Even if the state is not involved in the forceful abductions, the silence and inaction of the government speak volumes about its tacit approval of such actions. Forcing people not to hold opposite opinions and barring them from imagining the alternatives to the state-sponsored narrative through such coercive means is utterly shameful and despicable. Such practices are the initial signs of any nation falling in the pitfalls of fascism.

Above all, the inaction of the upper judiciary on such instances is beyond comprehension. It will establish people’s faith in the rule of law if the higher courts rein the rogue elements within the institutions of the country. If the Supreme Court can issue directions to the government on health and education, why is it maintaining silence over state’s violation of fundamental rights of the people? What the government needs to give a thought to be a few words from Wole Soyinka who warns that the greatest threat to freedom is the absence of criticism.