KARACHI - Dr Nafisa Shah, member of the National Assembly and coordinator of Pakistan People’s Party’s Human Rights Cell, has expressed concern over the increasing incidents of disappearance of political activists, scholars and bloggers over the last few days in the country.

Besides Salman Haider, at least three bloggers and rights activists and a number of political workers have gone missing from Sindh and Balochistan in recent days.

"The interior minister must come clean on this matter and take urgent steps for recovery of these activists. The minister for information technology should also answer questions in this regard because blogs of these activists have been reportedly removed from the internet," says Nafisa.

"Unfortunately, the government of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has miserably failed to implement the National Action Plan or punish the terrorists. Ironically, social activists and intellectuals who are mainly challenging extremists in Pakistan are being kidnapped, tortured and victimised. The government is either clueless or unable to protect them," she said.  The PPP Human Rights Cell chief also voiced her concern over disappearance of political activists and nationalists from Sindh and Balochistan. She called upon the Human Rights Committee of the National Assembly to respond to the growing rights violations in the country.

In a related development, speakers at a protest demonstration said the growing number of cases of disappearance of intellectuals, critics, political workers and rights activists was evidence of the prevailing lawlessness in the country. They said the National Assembly, Senate and the Supreme Court should take notice of the situation and have the kidnapped people released.

“If someone is involved in criminal activities, he should be presented before the court. Islamabad-based Prof Salman Haider, who was kidnapped recently, and others should immediately be recovered and those behind their kidnapping should be dealt with according to the law,” one of the speakers said.

The event was organised by the National Trade Union Federation, Home-Based Women Workers Federation, Inqalabi Socialist, Communist Party of Pakistan and Jiye Sindh Mahaz outside the Karachi Press Club (KPC). A number of political and social activists took part in the protest demonstration.

The speakers criticised the government for its claims that a democratic system was in place in the country. They said that peaceful political and social activists were being kidnapped. On the other hand, they said, banned outfits were openly holding rallies, public gatherings and meetings with top officials in the federal capital. “If the government continues with this policy and elected representatives in the parliament do not play their role, there will be no option left except putting up resistance,” they said. They demanded that Salman Haider and others be recovered immediately and those responsible should be held accountable.

Those who spoke at the event were NTUF’s Nasir Mansoor, Riaz Abbasi, Rasheed Taj, Inqalabi Socialist's Dr Riaz Ahmed, HBWWF’s Zehra Khan, JSM's Abdul Khaliq Junejo and others.