BERLIN, Germany: A German group of Amnesty International Hagen organized a march protesting over the trend of forced disappearances of human rights and political activists in Pakistan urging the government to produce the abducted people and try all the accused through the due process of law. The protestors were demanding Pakistan authorities to end the environment of impunity that the state’s law enforcement agencies enjoy in terms of abducting and torturing the civilian citizens. An urgent appeal issued by Amnesty International’s Germany chapter demanded the government of Pakistan to produce missing human rights activist Raza Khan who has been reported missing by his family and friends since December 2, 2017. The statement added that Raza Khan, a rights activist based in Lahore was actively involved in different peace initiatives and human rights campaigns raising fears that he might have been subject to an enforced disappearance. Amnesty added that over recent years, enforced disappearances – once limited to the restive parts of Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces – have spread deep into Pakistan’s main urban centres. Pakistan’s Commission on Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances received nearly 300 cases of alleged enforced disappearances from August to October 2017, by far the largest number in a three-month period in recent years. Over the past two months, Amnesty International has received credible reports of an alarming number of disappearances of Baloch students and activists. Amnesty International has already started to send letters to the government officials including the Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Inspector General of Punjab Police urging them to order an immediate investigation into Raza Khan’s fate and whereabouts while keeping his family fully informed and updated on the issue. The rights activists are also seeking immediate, impartial, independent and efficient investigation into this and all other possible enforced disappearances while publicly disclosing the findings and bringing anyone suspected of criminal responsibility to justice in fair trials. Amnesty International also urged Pakistan authorities to end the practice of enforced disappearances and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance while ensuring that the activists, human rights defenders, journalists, academics and members of the political opposition are able to peacefully exercise their rights to freedom of expression and association. The Amnesty group, which works on the issue of enforced disappearances in Pakistan was previously focusing on the abduction of an activist Wahid Baloch, who was abducted July 26 last year from Karachi and was later released after a campaign launched by the Amnesty International for his recovery. The Amnesty Hagen specialises on the issue of forced disappearances in Pakistan and is seeking release of hundreds, if not thousands, of activists across the country. The group is demanding immediate information about the whereabouts of Masood Janjua, a 45-year-old businessman from Rawalpindi, Atiq-ur Rehman, a nuclear scientist, Shabbir Baloch (24), a student activist, and key figures of a student organization named BSO-Azaad, Zakir Majeed Baloch, an activist, and scores of other missing persons mainly from Balochistan. The Amnesty Hagen group organizers told Daily Times that they specialize in the cases of torture and disappearances in Balochistan province and last year they had organized an exhibition in Germany about the lives and activities of many missing activists in Pakistan from 31.10.2016 to 21.12.2016. They mentioned that the group joined the campaigns for the release of many activists in Pakistan including Wahid Baloch, who was later released by the security agencies. However, they are still awaiting the news about many missing persons including Zakir Baloch who was picked up by men wearing plain clothes in front of Wahid Baloch in year 2009 and was never released or informed about. The protestors in Hagen, Germany also collected 113 signed letters from the German citizens for Pakistani authorities to ensure the release of missing persons across the country. The activists showed concerns over the fact that victims of these enforced disappearances were at high risk of torture and even death, whereas not a single perpetrator of these abductions could be brought to justice till date. The human rights activists were also alarmed by The Commission on Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances receiving nearly 300 cases of alleged enforced disappearances from August to October 2017 in Pakistan, expressing that this was by far the largest number in a three-month period in recent years. The German rights activists also pointed that the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances had stated in 2012 that there was “a climate of impunity in Pakistan with regard to enforced disappearances, and the authorities are not sufficiently dedicated to investigate cases of enforced disappearances and hold the perpetrators accountable.” They added that Amnesty International believes that this situation has not improved over the past five years and rather leads to deteriorating circumstances under current developments. Leading rights activist and former Amnesty International South Asia researcher Mustafa Qadri stated that it is a serious concern that those responsible for the apparent enforced disappearance of individuals exercising their peaceful right to freedom of opinion, belief and expression continue to operate with impunity. He added that the Supreme Court of Pakistan has itself acknowledged the role of state authorities in perpetrating at least some of these violations, which are a crime under international law. That may explain why the state has been so poor at seeking justice for victims of enforced disappearance. “The repercussions are significant: failure to recover the victims alive and to ensure those responsible are brought to justice sends a chilling signal that the perpetrators can get away with literally disappearing people”, he warned. Qadri, who is also known for his well acclaimed report about CIA’s drone strikes in Afghanistan-Pakistan region, was of the view that Human rights defenders are critical to a safe, just and open society because they shine a light of accountability on those within the state and broader society who commit abuses and other unethical practices. That is why activists are targeted – to prevent them from exposing the faults of those who know their actions are illegal and therefore should be prosecuted. He urged people to write to their parliamentarians demanding justice for the victims of enforced disappearances. People living in EU countries should contact their state officials to ensure they demand answers from Pakistan – the country receives favourable trade preferences from the EU that are tied to meeting its fundamental human rights obligations: that includes preventing torture, and other violations associated with enforced disappearance.