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Pakistani authorities must investigate whereabouts of missing peace activist

Responding to the news that the Lahore-based Pakistani peace activist Raza Khan has gone missing, Dinushika Dissanayake, Amnesty International’s Deputy South Asia Director, said:

“The Pakistani authorities must take all measures necessary to investigate Raza Khan's fate immediately.

“Scarcely does a week go by without Amnesty International receiving reports of people going missing in Pakistan. Many of them may have been subjected to enforced disappearances, which is a crime under international law.

“In October, Pakistan was elected to the UN Human Rights Council on a pledge to uphold universal human rights for all. But we’ve seen few effective attempts to investigate these disappearances and no-one has ever been held accountable for them.

“Raza Khan’s alleged disappearance in Lahore comes as London Mayor Sadiq Khan is visiting the city. We hope the mayor calls on the Pakistani authorities to immediately establish his whereabouts and return him to his family.”

Raza Khan has not been seen or heard from since Saturday 2 December, when he left his office in Lahore’s Garden Town neighbourhood.

Enforced disappearances

Enforced disappearances are a blight on Pakistan’s human rights record, with hundreds and possibly thousands of cases reported across the country in recent years. Victims of enforced disappearances are at considerable risk of torture and other ill-treatment and, very often, death. To date, not a single person suspected of criminal responsibility for the crime has been brought to justice in Pakistan.

Over recent years, enforced disappearances have spread deep into Pakistan’s main urban centres. Pakistan’s Commission on Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances received nearly 300 cases of alleged enforced disappearances from August to October this year, by far the largest number in a three-month period in recent years.

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