Families of illegally arrested Shia Muslims seek justice

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Pakistan
Saturday, 04 February 2017

The relatives of several missing persons on Thursday accused the Punjab government of “playing politics” in the guise of implementing the National Action Plan (NAP) against terrorists and extremists.

At a press conference at the National Press Club, they described the disappearance of their sons, husbands and brothers in the recent past as “a balancing act” on the part of the provincial government.
“The government was trying to please terror groups and (religious) extremists. Men of other sects were also picked in a bid to show that it was pursuing a balanced policy,” the wife of missing Akhtar Imran, said.
She said that her husband was picked up in Chiniot on August 22, 2016 by people who came in police vehicles.
But officials were not acknowledging his arrest or captivity.
“This is not fair. We fear that he might be killed and his body dumped somewhere,” she said adding that the Punjab government should document his arrest and bring forth his crime.
“This is because of the politically motivated ‘balancing policy’ adopted by the Punjab government since Muharram to arrest Shia youth too after they claim to arrest any worker of a terrorist party,” she said.
Her husband, Akhtar Imran, was a teacher in a local private school, she said.
The father, mother and sister of missing Ragib Abbas narrated a similar story.
They said Ragib was picked up at midnight on September 21, 2016 from Faisalabad and that the police had taken even the stationary in the house as part of investigations.
Neighbours and residents of the locality were witness to the police raid, said Sajid Hussain Khan, the father of Ragib Abbas.
“Since then the SSP has been assuring me that my son is fine and that the items taken by the police will be returned within days,” he said.
Sajid Hussain said he took along locals belonging to the Ahle Sunnat sect to assure the police that his son was innocent and had no record of criminal, anti-social or illegal activity.
“After failing to get any relief from the police, I addressed a press conference in Faisalabad and encouraged the parents and well wishers of other missing Shia youths to contact me,” he said.
Some parents filed petitions in courts for the recovery of their missing sons.
The police, however, denied in court that they had conducted any raids or apprehended anyone.
The press conference was also addressed by relatives of other missing persons including Wajid Ali from Chiniot, and Ghulam Shabbir and Shabbir Hussain from Sargodha.
“The NAP was established to counter extremism and terrorism after the attack on Army Public School. But the focus seems to have shifted towards some politically motivated plan,” Wajid Ali, an army veteran, said.
“The government should hunt down terrorists and eliminate extremists and not play politics over the sensitive issue,” he added.
According to the sister of Ragib Abbas, an estimated 50 young people belonging to the Shia community have been detained illegally by the Punjab police.
She announced to hold a peaceful protest if the police did not disclose the whereabouts of the missing persons. She said the aggrieved families were not likely to approach any political party to support their cause.

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