(Rahman Abbas, Mumbai, India)
MR. PRIME MINISTER OF PAKISTAN
MIAN MuHAMMAD NAWAZ SHARIF
Subject: Appeal to Ensure Safety and Release of Disappeared Poet and Bloggers
I’m an Indian Urdu novelist and a person who has spoken against fanatic elements of my own country when they had indulged in activities against the principles of democracy and secularism. I have also participated in protests against fundamentalist groups who have killed writers, and critics of rotten religious practices in our country.
With this brief introduction about my concerns for the principles of secularism and creative fraternity, I am drawing your attention towards the disappearance of poet and bloggers in your country. Since Pakistan is a wonderfully cherishing democracy, and a country where human dignity and freedom of thought is revered and valued, it is saddening that poets and writers have been suddenly made to disappear. Sir, I need not to say that it is a serious threat to what you stand for, i.e. freedom of thought and freedom of dissent. On several occasions I have watched you taking position in favour of minorities and speaking in appreciation of literature.
Sir, it is true that one can disagree with someone’s views on social changes and reforms, but we have laws and legal processes to punish people who hurt the emotions of others or use offensive language. But there is no situation in which silencing thought and disappearance of people would be acceptable, as it is against the basic principles of Islam and democracy.
Sir, you must be aware of ‘mysteriously’ missing poet and academicians Salman Haider, Waqas Goraya, Aasim Saeed, Ahmed Raza Naseer and Samar Abbas. And you must have felt the pain of the families of these young minds.
Sir, the Interior Minister of Pakistan, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, on Thursday the 19th of January had reported of taking notice of the matter and stated that there was negative propaganda on social media against these bloggers. The Interior Minister has also stated on 10th January that he was in contact with intelligence agencies and was hopeful of recovering Salman Haider, but disappointment is mounting with every passing day and hence your intervention is needed for the safe and sound recovery of all human rights and social activists.
Sir, I’m appealing to you to look into this critical matter with personal interest and ensure safety of people who want Pakistan to be a true democratic and secular nation.
First published at the Indian Cultural Forum website linked here.