An Open Letter to the PM of Pakistan
January 20, 2017
MR. PRIME MINISTER OF PAKISTAN
MIAN NAWAZ SHARIF
SUBJECT: Appeal to ensure safety and release of disappeared poet and bloggers.
I’m an Indian Urdu novelist and have frequently spoken against fanatic elements in my own country when they have indulged in activities against the principles of democracy and secularism. I have also taken part in protests against fundamentalist groups that have been accused of killing writers and critics of the rotten religious practices in our country.
With this brief introduction about my concerns for principles of secularism and the creative fraternity, I am drawing your attention towards the disappearance of poets and bloggers in your country. Since Pakistan is a cherished democracy and a country where human dignity and freedom of thought is revered and valued, it is sad to note that poets and writers have been ‘disappeared’. Sir, I need not reiterate that this is a serious threat to what you stand for, i.e. freedom of thought and freedom of dissent. I have seen the number of times you have stood with minorities and spoken of your appreciation of literature.
Sir, it is true that we can disagree with someone’s views on social change and reforms. But, in such cases, when people deliberately hurt the emotions of others or use offensive language, we have laws and legal processes that can be used to address such issues. But, there is no situation wherein the silencing of thought and the disappearance of persons is acceptable as it is against the basic principles of Islam and democracy. Sir, you must be aware of the inexplicable cases of missing poets and academics Salman Haider, Waqas Goraya, Aasim Saeed, Ahmed Raza Naseer and Samar Abbas and must have felt the pain of the families of these young minds.
Sir, on 19th January, the Interior Minister of Pakistan Chaudhury Nisar Ali Khan took notice of the matter and indicated that there was negative propaganda on social media against these bloggers. The minister also stated that as on 10th January he was in touch with intelligence agencies and was hopeful of finding Salman Haider. But now, with each passing day, the disappointment is increasing and hence, your intervention is necessary 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 uphold the democratic principles of the country.
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