Samar Abbas is the president of the Civil Progressive Alliance Pakistan. He disappeared on a business trip to Islamabad. Others who have disappeared include a well-known professor of Rawalpindi and three Lahore bloggers. Activist: "alarming trend of disappearances of the Punjab intellectual class".
Islamabad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - In Pakistan another secular activist, critic of religious extremism and violent fringes present in political and military circles has disappeared. Samar Abbas, 54, president of the Civil Progressive Alliance Pakistan (CPAP) is the fifth activist to have disappeared into thin air, after the same fate befell a famous university professor and three bloggers last week. Many now fear the security forces and terrorism are behind the mysterious disappearances.
Syed Talib Abbas, secretary general of CPAP, reports that the activist has disappeared while on his way from Karachi to Islamabad for a business trip. "The family - reports - received news of him until last Saturday [January 7], but then lost all contact and his phone is disconnected."
The activist Mona Aurangzeb believes that "the forced disappearance of members of the intellectual class of Punjab is an alarming trend. The state is giving the impression that no matter who you are: if you raise your voice or create problems, you have to pay the price. "
The head of the Alliance is the latest in a series of mysterious disappearances. Before him, on January 6 Salman Haider, a well-known poet who teaches at Fatima Jinnah Women's University in Rawalpindi disappeared in Islamabad.
Two days earlier in Lahore cousins Waqas Goraya and Aasim Saeed went missing, both bloggers. Finally, on January 7 the blogger Ahmed Raza Naseer, who suffers from polio also went missing, perhaps kidnapped while he was in his Skeikhupura shop, near Lahore.
The news of the disappearance of the fifth activist in the space of a week is raising questions about personal security and freedom of expression. An article appeared in The Express Tribune, called "Disappearing freedom in Pakistan." "At this point - it says - it would be premature to assign blame and responsibility. However it would be useful to examine the recent history of enforced disappearances in Pakistan, and the lack of public outrage about this horrible phenomenon. " And then it invites the public "at least to think intelligently about what these disappearances are trying to achieve and what allows them to move forward with such inexplicable ease."