Amnesty calls for probe into journalist’s disappearance
International Day of the Disappeared
Karachi: Journalists in Pakistan face serious threats to their freedom of expression and their physical safety, from both armed groups and security forces. The government has a duty to protect journalists who are doing their jobs, and hold accountable those responsible for violating their rights, said Amnesty International.
According to the release of Amnesty International as the International Day of the Disappeared is marked around the world, Pakistan’s authorities must promptly, thoroughly and effectively investigate the abduction and suspected enforced disappearance of Zeenat Shahzadi, said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.
Just over a year ago, on 19 August 2015, Zeenat Shahzadi, a 24-year-old journalist, was on her way to work in Lahore on an auto-rickshaw when she was abducted by armed gunmen. She has not been seen or heard from since. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan believes she was subject to an enforced disappearance by security forces.
“Zeenat Shahzadi is the first female journalist suspected to have been subject to an enforced disappearance in Pakistan. Her case highlights how this cruel practice is being used against a broader range of people, even as hundreds, possibly thousands of cases of disappearances remain unresolved,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.
Over the past decade, human rights organizations have been alarmed by the proliferation of enforced disappearances in Pakistan which amount to a climate of
Pakistan’s Commission on Enforced Disappearances last met to discuss Zeenat Shahzadi’s case earlier this month. According to lawyers familiar with the case, there has been no progress so far. The Joint Investigation Team – comprised of civilian and military officials – has been tasked with submitting a fresh report.