Global rights watchdog Amnesty International has called on the Pakistani authorities to disclose the whereabouts of a Pakistani human rights campaigner documenting grave rights abuses in northwestern Pakistan’s Pashtun belt, where the military fought a long war against Islamist militants.
“We are concerned about reports of the disappearance of PTM activist Alamzaid Mehsud,” Amnesty International Deputy South Asia Director Omar Waraich said on January 21. “His whereabouts must be disclosed immediately. Either produce him in court or release him without delay.”
Waraich said Mehsud was picked up at Pakistan’s southern seaport city of Karachi early on January 21.
“Other PTM activists with him were allegedly beaten up,” Waraich said while referring to the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement, a civil rights movement demanding security and rights for Pakistan’s more than 30 million ethnic Pashtuns, who make up the largest ethnic minority in the country of 200 million people.
“Freedom of peaceful assembly must be protected. Activists must never be attacked,” he said.
Mehsud was a prominent PTM activist. He often shared videos and posts on his Twitter and Facebook accounts that documented human rights abuses such as enforced disappearances, illegal killings, and landmines.