Jibran Nasir, a human rights activist and lawyer based in Karachi, was “abducted” on Thursday night while returning home from dinner with his wife, Mansha Pasha, who urged people to raise their voice for the safe and swift return of her husband.
In a video statement posted on social media, Pasha said the “abduction” occurred when the two were returning to their home in DHA Karachi after dinner. “Around half an hour ago, my husband Jibran Nasir, who is a renowned lawyer and has done much for the country, was abducted by some people,” she said, narrating that their car had been intercepted by another vehicle en route, almost triggering a collision.
“We were returning [home] from dinner, when a big white car intercepted us, almost causing us to crash. There were some 15 people, armed with pistols. They forcefully took away my husband,” she said, as she urged the public to raise their voice for the safe and swift return of Nasir and pray for his welfare.
On Friday morning, she sought to register a First Information Report at the Clifton Police Station over her husband’s “abduction,” saying there had been two cars involved in the events of the night prior. One of the cars, she said, had blocked their passage, while armed men had come out of the second and whisked away Nasir. She told media she would also approach court on Saturday to seek the recovery of her husband.
Nasir, who contested the 2018 general elections as an independent candidate from Karachi, is a vocal critic of human rights abuses, most recently over those allegedly perpetrated against workers of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) following the May 9 riots. He has also been severely critical of the state’s leniency toward religious extremists and has repeatedly called for an end to sectarian violence and fought for the right of freedom of self-expression.
Since the May 9 riots, there has been an uptick in the “disappearance” of individuals across Pakistan. Last month, anchor Imran Riaz Khan was “abducted” from Sialkot and has yet to be recovered. Another journalist, Sami Ibrahim, was also “abducted” from Islamabad last week but has since been released.
Nasir’s “abduction” has triggered an outpouring of support on social media, with civil society and journalists calling for his swift recovery. In a posting on Twitter, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said it was “deeply concerned” by reports of Nasir’s abduction by “unknown” persons. “We demand that he be safely recovered immediately and his abductors held accountable under the law,” it added. There has, as yet, been no reaction from the Sindh government, led by ruling coalition partner Pakistan Peoples Party.