Protest intensifies to demand release of `missing’ Sindhi activist Punhal Sario
Hyderabad/Pakistan, August 25: The disappearance of Sindhi human rights activist Punhal Sario has created an out cry in Pakistan’s Sindh province. The 58-year-old head of the Voice for Missing Persons of Sindh, Punhal Sario recently marched from the Pakistani cities of Hyderabad to Karachi to demand the return of fellow activists who had gone “missing”.
The activist was allegedly abducted from Hyderabad on August 3. The police are denying to register a missing complaint, but Punhal’s daughter and other human rights activists are running a campaign for his safe return. Marvi Sario, daughter of Punhal Sario, said at a press conference, “I am not aware of those who have abducted my father but I am aware that the government and its secret agencies have the responsibility to protect its citizen. The police have not even registered a FIR about the disappearance of my father”.
These recent alleged rights violations come just weeks after a review of Pakistan by the United Nations Human Rights Committee, which recommended that Pakistan end the practice of enforced disappearances and secret detentions. People who are disappeared are held without legal protection, making them much more vulnerable to torture and other abuses.
The non-governmental Human Rights Commission of Pakistan reported that 728 people forcibly disappeared in Pakistan in 2016 alone. Zulfiqar Halepoto, a Pakistani human rights activist said, “We are making an appeal that enforced disappearances should be stopped. Their concerns should be presented before the judiciary. If they are engaged in any unlawful activities, their family members should be informed. We are making a humanitarian appeal that Punjal Sario and others who have been disappeared from Balochistan, Sindh and other provinces of Pakistan should be freed”.
According to Sindh Human Rights Defenders, a group that actively campaigns for human rights, around 160 people, including political and nationalist workers, students, rights activists and common citizens are missing in Sindh.
Some of these disappearances, an overwhelming majority of which is believed to be enforced ones, are up to nine years old. (ANI)