The Pakistani Minister of Human Rights Shireen Mazari conceded the arrest of the missing Rashid Hussain in a tweet on Monday.
Criticizing the PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz over supporting the families of the Baloch missing persons, Mazari said that Ms Nawaz did not realize that “she was also supporting an arrested terrorist’s pic!”
Mazari said that Maryam Nawaz has “suddenly discovered the issue of Enforced Disappearances” and flouted that under the PPP and PML-N government, the word ‘Enforced Disappearances’ was not uttered. “It was taboo”, she said.
She said that the PTI government has “broken the taboo” and the cabinet has formed a commission on the issue. “Taboo ended & Sharif and Bhutto-Zardari kids can safely mention enforced disappearances”, she said.
Pakistan Democratic Movement, the 11-party anti-government alliance of the opposition parties of Pakistan, conducted its third massive power show in Quetta on Sunday. Prominent politicians including Akhtar Mengal, Falzur Rehman and Maryam Nawaz were in attendance. PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also addressed the gathering via video links.
The families of the Baloch missing persons also attended the rally, carrying the portraits of their loved ones. Maryam Nawaz expressed solidarity with the families of the missing persons and summoned them on the stage. Missing Rashid Hussain’s mother sat by her side, and her young granddaughter in her lap, holding the portraits of the Rashid Hussain.
Addressing the gathering, Ms Nawaz said that the account of the disappearances of the Baloch missing persons has brought so many tears in her eyes that even the death of her mother and the arrest of her father could not bring.
Ms Nawaz’s step was met with criticism by the Pakistani Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari who berated her for “supporting an arrested terrorist’s pic” in utter unfamiliarity, referring to the portraits of Rashid Hussain.
Rashid Hussain, a Baloch human rights activist, was detained in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by the Emirati intelligence agencies in December 2018. He was kept in confinement in UAE for six months and then extradited to Pakistan.
Rashid Hussain was tried by the Anti-Terrorism Court in Karachi in April this year where he was declared a ‘fugitive.’ Pakistani human rights minister now declared him an “arrested terrorist.”
The family of the missing Rashid Hussain has been campaigning for his safe return in Quetta and Karachi for two years now. Amnesty International also raised the issue of Mr Hussain’s disappearances and wrote a letter to the UAE, questioning his ‘illegal extradition.’
Hussain’s sister said in a recent interview that they’ve had filed a petition in the Sindh High Court for his recovery. The Court then sent a notice to the Ministry of Interior and the Foreign Office to express their stance on the issue, but to no avail – a majority of the notices were ‘ignored.’ The section officer of the ministry of interior in Islamabad told to the court that they have neither arrested Rashid Hussain nor is he in their confinement.
Hussain’s sister has said that such contradictory statements are equivalent of “perjury.”