17 January 2017
On Friday, 13 January 2017, the London Green Party joined a protest outside the Pakistani Embassy in the UK to protest enforced disappearances of online political dissidents.
The critics included bloggers, poets, writers, and commentators, and all were active online criticising the state and military as well as social conservatism and militancy. Though 12 critics are suspected missing, only the names of 4 are confirmed: Salman Haider, Waqas Goraya, Asim Saeed, and Ahmed Reza Naseer.
The London Green Party call upon to the Pakistani government to find and return home Salman Haider, Waqas Goraya, Asim Saeed, and Ahmed Reza Naseer immediately and ensure their safety. We believe that these disappearances are a threat to freedom of liberty, free speech, freedom of expression, and assembly in online spaces in Pakistan. We urge the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office to do its utmost to call for respect for fundamental right of freedom in Pakistan.
We join in asking journalists, human rights activists, scholars, media associations, writers, poets, artists, bloggers and all the concerned voices from around the world to show solidarity and support for ‘missing’ activists/bloggers who were critical of the establishment’s policies and, through their pages and writings, were trying to create a space for progressive and democratic ideas in Pakistan.
About the missing bloggers and activists
Since early January, 12 social media activists are feared missing. Of the 12, five names are public and known:
A poet, actor, playwright, and writer, Haider is a lecturer at the Department of Gender Studies at Fatimah Jinnah University in Rawalpindi. He is also an editor of the online magazine, Tanqeed, and an active member of Theatre Walley. Haider was returning home from a session with Theatre Walley when he went missing late on the night of January 6, 2016, from the outskirts of Islamabad.
Ahmed Waqas Goraya
A medical anthropologist and a resident of The Netherlands, Goraya is believed to be the admin of a progressive page critical of the military establishment in Pakistan. Goraya went missing from Lahore on January 4, 2016.
An IT specialist working in MERC international and a resident of Singapore. Saeed is believed to be the admin of another progressive online page. He went missing on January 4, 2016, from Lahore.
Ahmed Naseer Raza
A polio patient and shopkeeper, Raza is believed to be the admin of a secular page. He went missing on January 7, 2016, from Sheikhupura, Punjab.
A Karachi-based rights activist, Samar Abbas is President of (Civil Progressive Alliance Pakistan). He has gone missing from Islamabad since January 7, 2016.
Ousman Noor, Campaigns Coordinator, London Green Party