Disappearances of rights activists irks Senate chairman

Rabbani says this does not happen in civilised world


Our Correspondent January 29, 2017
Senate chairman Raza Rabbani. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Irked by the disappearances of rights activists, Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani has said people were disappearing “right under the nose of the state, but nobody dares to ask [any] question”.

His comments came after five human rights advocates and bloggers went missing under suspicious circumstances. Three of them have since been released and are safe, their family members say, although it remains unclear who abducted them.

“If they are guilty, then proper judicial proceedings should be initiated according to the Constitution and law of the land,” Rabbani said.

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“Nowhere in the civilised world does this happen that people are picked just because they have a different opinion on an issue. It is time we started behaving like civilised nations that believe in democracy, constitution and rule of law, and shun away undemocratic practices at the state and personal level.”

The hard-hitting comments came at the first-ever Urdu Literary Festival organised by a local trust in connection with the 39th anniversary of the poetic collection “Khushboo” of the late Parveen Shakir.

Speaking on the occasion, Rabbani said history was replete with examples when poets like Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Habib Jalib stood against dictatorships and authoritarian rule, and their poetry gave birth to a number of movements, adding unfortunately, the state by way of deliberate action killed the culture of literature in Pakistan.

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“Literature gives birth to new thinking, tolerance and compassion, and perhaps the state was not ready to accept these things,” Rabbani said.

According to a press release, Rabbani said a deliberate attempt was made to “strangulate the culture of literature and poetry in society”, creating vacuum which was filled by the culture of intolerance and torture.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 30th, 2017.

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