Alliance formed to pursue cases of enforced disappearances

Published: September 9, 2019
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DESIGN: SIDRAH MOIZ KHAN

DESIGN: SIDRAH MOIZ KHAN

HYDERABAD: A group of social activists has formed the Hyderabad Human Rights Alliance to pursue the cases of missing persons. The alliance, which will be headed by its convener, Prof Mushtaq Mirani, has been formed in the wake of the alleged enforced disappearance of Prof Inam Bhatti, who is Director of the Office of Research, Innovation, and Commercialisation at Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, Jamshoro.

At a press conference on Saturday, Mirani said that they will soon compile a list of missing persons. He congratulated the activists, educationists, and people belonging to different segments of society for taking up the issue of Prof Bhatti’s disappearance which resulted in his release a few days after his detention from Karachi airport.

“It was a success of the collective voice and conscience of Sindh.” He described the acts of enforced disappearances as a blatant violation of the law and Constitution, as well as civil rights and democracy. Mirani contended that such acts compel civilians to lose trust in the system of governance being run in the name of democracy.

“Although Prof Bhatti has been released under pressure from the collective voice of Sindh, many people and political workers like Dr Fateh Muhammad, Aqib Chandio, Suhail Raza Bhatti and Prof Ghulam Shabir Kunbhar are missing.”

From the alliance’s platform, he demanded that all the people of Sindh who have been subjected to enforced disappearances should either be released or produced before the courts of law. Mirani also appealed the superior courts, the elected assemblies, the federal and provincial governments to not only condemn such acts but also play their constitutional role in this regard.

Prof Dr Arfana Mallah, president of the Sindh University Teachers Association, said that the teachers of 89 universities supported the protest call of MUET’s faculty for the immediate release of Prof Bhatti. According to her, even the university teachers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa said they would boycott work for half a day while MUET teachers announced a boycott of the exams starting from September 13.

Jami Chandio, a writer and social activist, said the law enforcement agencies that pick up people unlawfully neither declare their detention nor share the cause of the detention. “The Constitution, law and constitutional institutions exist in this country. Yet the acts of enforced disappearances negate these very institutions as well as the Constitution.”

Mahesh Kumar said that representatives of lawyers and other segments of society will be made part of the alliance to make it more effective.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 9th, 2019.

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