MIAN NAWAZ SHARIF
PRIME MINISTER OF PAKISTAN
SUBJECT: Appeal to ensure safety and release of missing poets 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 taken part in protest against fundamentalist groups who had been accused of killing writers and critic of rotten religious practices in our country. In addition, I was one of those Indian writers who had returned their respective Awards as symbolic protest against fundamentalism and intolerance.
With this brief introduction about my concerns for principles of secularism and creative fraternity, I am drawing your attention to the missing poets and bloggers in your country. Since Pakistan is a wonderful and cherishing democracy and a country where human dignity and freedom of thought is revered and valued, this is saddening that poets and writers have been made to disappear. Sir, I needn’t say that it is a serious threat to what you stand for, i.e., freedom of thought and freedom of dissent. I have witnessed that you take positions for the rights of minorities in your country and value the contribution of writers and poets.
Sir, it is true that one can disagree with someone’s views on social changes and reforms but, in that case, we have laws and legal processes to punish people who hurt emotions of others or use offensive language. But under no circumstances the silencing of thinking and the disappearance of persons is acceptable as it is against the basic principles of Islam and democracy. Sir, you must be aware of ‘mysteriously’ missing poets and academics – Salman Haider, Waqas Goraya, Aasim Saeed, Ahmed Raza Naseer, and Samar Abbas – and must have also felt the pain of families of these young minds.
Sir, the Interior Minister of Pakistan, Chaudhury Nisar Ali Khan, on Thursday, 19 January, had taken note of the matter and stated that there was an ongoing negative propaganda on social media against the bloggers. The Interior Minister had also stated on 10 January that he was in contact with intelligence agencies and was hopeful of recovery of Salman Haider. But disappointment is increasing 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 the safety of people who want Pakistan to be a truly democratic and secular nation.