Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Disappearing activists in Pakistan create alarm

Disappearing activists in Pakistan create alarm amongst humanitarian groups!

Wilson Chowdhry

The British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) today joined its voice with others in highlighting the rising tide of ‘disappearances’ associated with blasphemy cases against human rights activists in Pakistan. BPCA chairman Wilson Chowdhry said:

‘We have repeatedly highlighted the threats of and actual murder and violence that often accompany blasphemy allegations against Christians in Pakistan, which are usually used as a weapon of intimidation in disputes or as part of a slow broiling genocide to crush Christians and other minorities.

However, we are told by experts in genocide that the targeting of moderates of the majority community and those that speak out is usually a part of the process of genocide, and over the last couple of days we have been made aware that on top of the human rights activists murdered last year, a number of such activists and bloggers have disappeared in the last couple of weeks or so, several of them Pakistani’s who were residing in the Netherlands but were on a visit to Pakistan.

We understand that most or all of them have written online about the disappearances and human rights abuses perpetrated by both the security forces and religious extremists.’

Reports indicate that at least 10 such bloggers and activists have disappeared over recent weeks. At least one of those who has ‘disappeared’ is a female activist, Zeenat Shehzadi. Alarm has particularly been raised after reports indicate that four of the missing activists were involved in a social media campaign to register police cases against powerful figures - such as the owner of a TV station and a powerful political party leader. They are all said to have disappeared within the space of three days in several different locations, whilst various accusers have registered charges of blasphemy against at least five of the disappeared.

Two Netherlands based activists, cousins Waqas Garoya and Asim Saeeddisappeared from Lahore on 4th January, someone called Ahmed Razadisappeared on 7th January, and prominent academic and outspoken campaigner Profesor Salman Haider disappeared from Islamabad on the 6th.

‘The close timing across several locations along with the blasphemy accusations strongly suggests a co-ordinated action to target those bravely exposing the dark heart of the Pakistani establishment. A world where it can sometimes be hard to tell apart establishment figures and Islamic extremists – sometimes they are one and the same. It is telling that, so I’m informed, Pakistan’s Senate Chairman, Raza Rabbani has publicly condemned on the floor of the house, those countries such as the UK and the USA that have expressed concern about the disappearances.

Mr Chowdhry, said:

'This targeting of activists and moderates and the denial over it in the highest circles does not bode well for the future, and we urge governments to face up to the likelihood of a new and greater wave of persecution of minorities and activists in Pakistan and for them to consider the genuine needs of Pakistani minority refugees who are often very low on options.

'We would remind them that the latest independently audited rankings released this month place Pakistan as the 4th worst nation in the world to be a Christian, ranking just behind Afghanistan and ahead of brutal Sudan and as even worse than ISIS ravaged Syria and Iraq.

'I repeat, the situation of Christians in Pakistan is now WORSE than that of Iraq and Syria, as they face a situation where organised crime, corruption and religious extremism closely intermingle.

Whoever is behind the disappearances and simultaneous blasphemy allegations, whether it is religious extremists or the establishment, or both working hand in hand, the world needs to pay attention to the signs of what is likely to come’

Notes to Editors

Each year, the independently audited ‘World Watch List’ is released, in which detailed evidence is collated to determine the severity of persecutions of Christians in the worst 50 nations. Pakistan has risen from 8th to 4th worst in the last few years, overtaking Iraq, Syria and Sudan in the most recent survey, released this month. Only North Korea, Somalia and Afghanistan treat Christians worse – and not by much, and the survey noted in particular the incredibly large number of violent attacks on Christians in Pakistan. In terms of violence against Christians, Pakistan was ranked as worse even than Nigeria, where Boko Haram regularly attacks churches and Christians. This and recent incitement to hatred and violence across media has lead some human rights workers to describe the situation in Pakistan as a kind of slow-boiling religious genocide against Christians and other minorities, and they are deeply worried about the potential for something more like full blown genocide.

More details on the survey are here:

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Commercial Scoop User? Help Scoop Survive (and Thrive!)

The ScoopPro licensing terms require that commercial users of pay a reasonable fee in order to access the Scoop site so that this same information remains free and accessible to the wider public regardless of their disposable income. More>>

Joseph Cederwall: Building a Community Newsroom

A combination of new technology, ideas, institutions and business models and a renewed energy and commitment by the Scoop team, means Scoop aims to be at the forefront of the development of this renaissance that we term ‘News 3.0’. More>>


Scoop 3.0: Saving The News

Scoop Co-Founder Alastair Thompson - One of the saddest aspects of the decline of the news industry, not just here in NZ - but everywhere, is that it often seems invisible, in large part because news is a confidence business... More>>


UK Cabinet Backs Deal: Gordon Campbell On The Latest Roll Of The Brexit Dice

Brexit has left the British public looking like a nation of Wellington bus commuters. In both cases, the unholy mess bears no resemblance to what people were promised or the spin being used to justify it. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Democratic Leadership And Trump

On the big picture, the poll predictions were dead right. In the end, the Democratic Party won a clear victory in the House, and lost as expected in the Senate, where it had been defending at least 10 seats in regions that had voted heavily for Trump in 2016. More>>