HRCP forms body to investigate Baloch activist’s disappearance


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KARACHI: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has formed a three-member fact-finding mission to find out details about the alleged abduction of publisher and social worker Abdul Wahid Baloch, it emerged on Wednesday.

HRCP vice chairman (Sindh) Asad Iqbal Butt is the head of the mission, and two senior members, Abdul Hayee and Khizr Habib, will be working with him.

Speaking to Dawn, Asad Iqbal said the mission would speak to the police officers about why they did not register an FIR, which is a basic human right. “It depends on the pressures they might be facing or not. It would only come to the fore once we have a detailed meeting with them,” he said. He added that the fact-finding mission would meet the family once again to get their side of the story.

At the same time, the family of Abdul Wahid filed a petition in the Sindh High Court on Tuesday (CP no. D-4247/2016), according to the family’s lawyer who asked not to be named. The petition states that if the intelligence agencies have in fact abducted Abdul Wahid, they should produce him before court. The court has given Aug 15 as the date of hearing, added the lawyer.

Abdul Wahid’s eldest daughter, Hani, while speaking to Dawn on the phone, said the decision of filing a petition was taken “after police refused to register an FIR even a week after the incident occurred”.

A publisher, book collector and mostly present at protest rallies held by the families of missing persons at the Karachi Press Club, Abdul Wahid Baloch was pulled off a van at the Superhighway toll plaza by two men in civvies on July 26. He was coming back from Digri with his friend Sabir Ali Sabir.

Speaking about the incident, Sabir said one of the men “had a picture of [Abdul Wahid] on their smartphone and asked him to step out once they confirmed from his identity card that it was him”. He also added that both he and Abdul Wahid “stopped at various towns in Sindh after meeting relatives and friends in Digri”. Sabir added that they had “gone to attend a funeral and later met some associates and friends who look up to Abdul Wahid and his work”.

Published in Dawn, August 4th, 2016

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