Civil society, victims’ families protest at Liberty roundabout
LAHORE: Civil society, people from different professions, and families as well as friends of the missing persons gathered at the Liberty roundabout and recorded their protests for the earliest recovery of their loved ones.
Lamenting the failure of the authorities to trace the missing persons, the protesters drew attention to the missing Raza Mahmood – a peace activist and member of the Aghaz-e-Dosti organisation – and demanded from the authorities to recover all those who were missing.
Raza had been abducted from Lahore in December 2017.
The protesters held banners and placards inscribed with slogans demanding the recovery of the missing persons, and chanted slogans while calling on the authorities to provide justice for everyone.
An activist, Raheemul Haq said that Asma Jahangir was a champion of free speech and always stood up for the rights of the civilians, especially those who were victims of enforced disappearances. He said that while respecting her principles, we as a society need to stand up for the missing persons. Raising our voice was a continuation of her mission, he added.
Deep Sayeeda said, “Enforced disappearances have become prevalent in Pakistan and one hears about new disappearances every day. No one takes the responsibility and the state also seems to be clueless. We tried contacting the authorities to ask for their help in recovering our children, but no one listened to us.”
Attiqa, a friend and colleague of Raza Khan said that we would fight for our dear ones. She said we were taking this protest to a new level and would ask everyone to join us. “The next hearing of the missing persons’ case is on February 21 and we hope that the respected courts can help us in finding Raza and all others who are missing,” said Attiqa. She also said that they would organise a larger protest outside the Lahore Press Club on March 3 to tell everyone to wake up.
“Today we are fighting for Raza and others, but tomorrow the numbers can increase further,” she said.
Kaila, a member of the feminist collective said that we need to unite. “We can fight them only if we are strong and we would not stop till every single missing person returns home safely,” Kaila added.