The relatives of missing persons called off their strike temporarily here on the 77th day (Tuesday). They also announced to resume the protest on May 16 at Peshawar High Court.
While talking The Express Tribune, Defence of Human Rights Chairperson Amina Masood Janjua said the decision was made after a former Ameer of Jamat-i-Islami Qazi Hussain Ahmad visited the protest camp on Monday. He suggested calling off the strike as it was affecting the health of protestors particularly elderly persons.
The protestors set up a camp at Parade Ground outside the Parliament House to press for the release of missing persons on February 15 this year. But on April 14, they relocated to outside the National Press Club.
“Some people started threatening us at the camp, claiming to be media persons or civil society members,” she said. The relatives of the missing persons will gather in the capital on May 15 and travel to Peshawar and launch the protest outside the Peshawar High Court.
However, she did not consider the 76-day protest as ineffective, saying that in the duration about 28 missing person were released, out of 690. “I don’t know whether it’s a good sign but during these past days, some 370 new cases of abduction have come into the limelight. Most of the cases are from Swat and Southern Punjab. Their relatives have also joined us,” she said.
She said though they know it is a long struggle but they will continue the protest till the release of each and every missing person. “Political representatives from opposing parties visited the camp and ensured support for the cause, though unfortunately no one from the government came to us to even show the solidarity with us,” she complained.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 2nd, 2012.