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Pakistan Human Rights Commission airs concern over forced disappearance of Pashtun workers

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) is concerned over forced disappearance of Pashtun workers

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Wednesday expressed its concerns over the alleged forced disappearance of four Pashtun workers following the Anarkali Bazar explosion in Lahore last month, local media reported.

Three people, including a nine-year-old child, were killed while over two dozen others were injured when a blast tore through a bustling market chowk near Lohari Gate, a prominent entrance of the historic walled city, on January 20, The Express Tribune reported. According to the Lahore police, an initial investigation showed that a 1.5 kilogramme improvised explosive device (IED) was planted in a motorcycle parked next to a pushcart outside a bank, which was the cause of the blast.

"According to HRCP's sources, two persons had disappeared from near Lahore Railway Station on January 22 — it has taken almost ten days for their families or friends to file an FIR against the incident," The Express Tribune quoted HRCP Chairperson Hina Jilani statement.

Jilani said that another Pashtun worker was disappeared after persons in civilian clothes allegedly raided his flat in the early hours of January 26, adding that yet another worker was forced to exit the rickshaw he was travelling in and taken away, again allegedly by persons in civilian clothing, the Pakistani media reported.

"No arrest warrants were issued and their friends and relatives have been unable to establish their whereabouts. In the latter two cases, the police have refused to issue an FIR," the statement stated.

According to The Express Tribune, the commission expressed its concern over the "worrying familiar pattern", saying that four Baloch students were also detained in a similar manner on January 22 in connection with the blast but later released.

"We demand that all four be located and their right to physical integrity and dignity of person guaranteed. If they — or indeed anyone — are to be detained at all, then law enforcement personnel are duty-bound to follow procedure and clearly indicate on what charge they have been detained and where they are being held," Jilani added.

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