Pakistan: Awami Workers Party demands immediate and safe recovery of disappeared poet & activist Salman Haider

By Awami Workers Party

January 7, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – The Awami Workers Party (AWP) Deputy-General Secretary Ismat Shahjahan expressed deep concern about the mysterious disappearance of renowned literary figure, university lecturer and progressive activist Salman Haider from the outskirts of Islamabad on Friday night.

According to initial reports, he has been missing since approximately 10pm last night when his wife received a message from an unknown number informing her that Haider's car could be picked up from Koral Chowk. AWP calls on the authorities to use all of the means at their disposal to identify his whereabouts and secure his safe release immediately.

Salman Haider is a faculty member in the Gender Studies Department at Fatima Jinnah Women's University and is a well-known progressive poet, playwright and theatre actor. He gained widespread fame on social media a few years ago for his satirical poems on social issues. On countless occasions, he has come out in support of the oppressed, across Pakistan.

She said that the AWP demands a transparent investigation into the matter and the immediate safe recovery of Salman Haider. With all of the investment that the federal government has made in boosting the authorities' surveillance capabilities in the capital, especially the countless surveillance cameras set up all across the city, it should be possible to trace Haider's whereabouts swiftly.

The AWP also calls upon the literary community of Pakistan to mobilize support for his immediate and safe recovery, she said.

Farman Ali
Secretary Information
AWP

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Pakistan: Protests to continue if activists are not released

Over 200 activists associated with civil society organizations and political parties held a demonstration on Thursday outside the Lahore Press Club to call for the release of five social media activists who were abducted in the last week.

The abducted activists, include Islamabad-based academic and poet Salman Haider, social activist Samar Abbas, social media bloggers Aasim Saaed, Waqas Goraya and Ahmed Raza Naseer.

The joint platform demanded that the government needs to ensure the release of civil society and progressive political activists.

They raised concerns that it was state agencies that were behind the expansion of a campaign against secular and left-wing social media activists.

They asked Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan to fulfill his promise of tracking down who abducted the activists and ensuring their release.

Awami Workers Party (AWP) spokesperson Farooq Tariq said that protests will continue until the missing persons were returned and the crackdown against social media activists was stopped.

He said that the NAP was being used to crack down against progressive activists.

He said that another demonstration would be held on Thursday, January 19, in Lahore if the abducted activists are not released by then.

Diep Syeda, a social activist, said that it was against the laws of the country and its constitution to abduct people.

She said that intelligence and law enforcement agencies can still not be absolved of their responsibility to uphold their constitutional duty of protecting the right to life and safety of these missing activists.

She called on media to fulfill its duty in reporting the unlawful abduction of social media activists.

Nighat Dad from the Digital Rights Foundation said that the concerns raised when the Cyber Crimes Law was passed last year that human rights activists would come under threat are coming true.

She said that it was important to protect freedom of speech on the internet.

The protest was joined by Awami Workers Party, Digital Rights Foundation, Democratic Students Alliance, Institute for Peace and Secular Studies, Progressive Students Collective, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, National Trade Union Federation, The Feminist Collective, Women’s Action Forum, Punjab Urban Resource Centre, Punjab Lok Sangat, Rawadari Tehreek and Progressive Labour Foundation among others.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Issued by:
Diep Syeda
Institute of Peace and Secular Studies

Farooq Tariq
Awami Workers Party Spokesperson

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