Rally demands release of Pakistani human rights lawyer taken by armed men in Karachi


Karachi (AP) — Dozens of protesters on Friday held a rally in Pakistan’s biggest city of Karachi to demand the release of a top human rights lawyer, after he was abducted by armed men the previous day.

Jibran Nasir was snatched from his car by more than a dozen armed men, his family said.

Nasir’s wife said the couple were returning home after dining out on Thursday evening when two white vans intercepted their car in an upscale area.

The men took Nasir away but left her unharmed, said the lawyer’s wife Mansha Pasha. She said she did not know who was behind the abduction.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for Nasir’s abduction and the police said they were investigating. The disappearance drew condemnation from rights activists who also held a peaceful rally in the city to demand authorities secure Nasir’s release.

The incident appeared to be the latest in a recent rash of abductions in Pakistan that rights groups say may be forced disappearances at the hands of the secret service.

Amnesty International said the Pakistani “authorities must expeditiously and impartially investigate and determine his whereabouts.”

“If in state custody, Jibran must either be released immediately or if there is sufficient evidence, produce him in a civilian court,” the London-based watchdog said on Twitter.

Although Pakistani law prohibits detention without court approval, security officials often detain suspects over alleged ties to militant groups.

Nasir’s abduction comes amid an ongoing crackdown against supporters of former Prime Minister Imran Khan in connection with last month’s violent protests and attacks on military installations and public property. The violence erupted after Khan’s arrest on May 9 from a court in Islamabad where he was appearing in a graft case.

The turmoil subsided only when the country’s Supreme Court released Khan. Since then, police have detained more than 5,000 people in connection with the violence.

Parliament ousted Khan in a no-confidence vote in April 2022.

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