HRCP demands bloggers’ recovery, end to climate of fear — HRCP Press release
Lahore, January 14: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed alarm over a growing sense of insecurity among civil society activists following disappearance of several bloggers over the last fortnight. It has called for their immediate recovery.
In a statement issued on Saturday, the Commission stated: “The authorities are surely aware of a climate of increased insecurity and fear among bloggers and activists after at least four bloggers were picked up in the last few days.
“The anxiety is fueled not only by the continued disappearance of the four men but also a vicious online smear campaign against them.
“Whoever has disappeared the four victims has done Pakistan a great disservice. Not only have their deeds done untold damage to Pakistan’s reputation, but also led to us being firmly counted among nations where expression in the cyber space makes activists extremely vulnerable.
“It is vital that all elements of the state, including the elected government and the security establishment, reflect on the reasons why fingers are being raised against state agencies for these disappearances. They must consider why families of the missing men or the civil society would suspect involvement of state agencies.
“Even if any of the missing bloggers are suspected of any wrongdoing, their apprehension in this manner cannot be justi`fied. If such is indeed the case, law must be followed and courts should have a chance to examine the case against them.
“It is in everyone’s interest that the reassure the bloggers and activists that it retains the will and the ability to prevent violation of their rights and provide them a safe environment to air their views and engage in activism.”missing bloggers are recovered without delay. It must be understood that national interest is in following the rule of law and due process without any exception.