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Petition: “Government of Pakistan: Find Raza !”

“We want him to be safe, we want him to be alive” Signature Campaign/Urgent/Hearing today

Friday 9 February 2018, by siawi3

Source: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Government_of_Pakistan_Find_Raza/?wdCshab&utm_source=sharetools&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=petition-475980-Government_of_Pakistan_Find_Raza&utm_term=dCshab%2Ben

Today is his hearing at the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances.

http://bit.ly/avaraza
Please tweet it and share with your networks. We need to push this through.

Sample tweet: I just signed this petition to Government of #Pakistan: Find Raza http://bit.ly/avaraza - to help #BringBackRaza #MissingPerson #peace activist. Please join to help us #FindRaza. Please sign. Thanks.

PETITION

SIGN the petition HERE
https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Government_of_Pakistan_Find_Raza/?wdCshab&utm_source=sharetools&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=petition-475980-Government_of_Pakistan_Find_Raza&utm_term=dCshab%2Ben

Government of Pakistan: Find Raza
We want him to be safe, we want him to be alive !

We, the undersigned, appeal for the immediate release and safe recovery of Raza Mahmood Khan, who became a victim of enforced disappearance in Pakistan on 2nd December 2017. We urge the government of Pakistan to urgently find and bring him back, in recognition of the wide support for his message of peace, harmony and friendship.

Background information:

We, the peace‐loving citizens of Pakistan and the world, are deeply distressed over the prolonged disappearance of our dear friend, colleague and fellow peace builder, Raza Mahmood Khan.
Raza Mahmood Khan, 38, is a citizen of Pakistan, and the co‐convener of Aaghaz‐e‐Dosti (Beginning of Friendship), a Pakistan‐India peace initiative. Through his initiatives, he opened doors of friendship between students of both countries, organised art based programmes, greeting card and letter exchange programmes and student interactions through video conferencing. The impact of this work has been very positive in schools where students have created paintings and other artwork for each other. The interactions have empowered children to rise above age‐old narratives of prejudice and hostility.

He is also co‐founder, Hum Sab Aik Hain (We Are All One), recently launched in Pakistan, registered in 2017 with the noble intention of bringing fellow citizens of all classes and religions together by providing them with a public platform. A proponent for peace in the South Asian region, he always stressed on the importance of improving ties with SAARC countries in order to fight our common enemies of poverty, climate change and extremism.

The last event that he organized on 2nd December was on extremism, held at Lowkey Lokai, a public space located in room 709, Al Qadir Heights, Lahore. The debate was organized in the context of a recent sit‐in staged by Islamic religious parties at Faizabad Interchange and the subsequent acceptance by the Pakistani State of the demands of these violent extremist groups, which brought the entire city to a stand‐still. Raza was last seen by the event attendees around 8 pm near Al‐Qadeer Heights. Since then, his whereabouts remain unknown and his phone numbers have remained switched off. We believe that Raza has been abducted for his organizing peace building activities with India, the recent debate on 2nd December, only a trigger that finally led to his enforced disappearance. This is not the first case of enforced disappearance in Pakistan. An alarming number of citizens, activists, journalists, bloggers and other members of the civil society groups have been abducted from their home. According to an Amnesty International report published in 2017, the Commission on Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances has received over 300 cases of alleged enforced disappearances. It is an unspoken secret in Pakistan that these alleged cases of enforced disappearances are engineered by the state security agencies, counterterrorism, army and military agencies to unlawfully silence dissenters.

Our Appeal:

We don’t know what threat a person like Raza can pose to the security and integrity of Pakistan. We dread to think of what has happened to our friend. Those victims of enforced disappearances who were returned or have survived to tell their stories, have been either silenced or forced to seek asylum in a foreign land. Those who were brave to share their stories of horror, painfully remember the torture and interrogation that they had to bear for weeks and sometimes months. When we listen to these stories, our hearts bleed for Raza.

We want him to be safe, we want him to be alive, but knowing that he has been missing for two months now, we cannot imagine what he must have had to undergo in a cold and dark cell facing the ‘upholders of law of the land.’ Security agencies are organized groups that fight terror, defend their land against external forces, but these agencies are running amok, attacking dissenting voices in a cruel manner. No one knows who could be next. Tomorrow it could be any of us. The families of missing persons cannot even swallow a morsel or drink a sip of water without thinking of their loved one. We oscillate between hope, faith, fear and sometimes hopelessness. What if we lose Raza? What if he never comes back?

Raza used to organize the annual India‐Pakistan peace calendar launch as the convener of Aaghaz‐e‐Dosti. The calendar has six paintings from India and six from Pakistan, each artistically capturing the hopes and dreams of children of two countries who have been told that the people on the other side of the border are their enemies. Raza bridged these barriers, connected schools, children. He drove change at the grassroots level, and today many children in India, know the positive image of Pakistan because of his efforts. The nation of Pakistan rewards these efforts by turning him into a victim of enforced disappearance.So many people have never returned, so many mothers still long for their sons and daughters, so many friends fill the void of pain that their missing friends have left behind with silent hope and tears. We cannot take it anymore. Our hearts cry for Raza, we remember Raza in our prayers, unable to move on with our lives. How can we move on after having lost our friend in such a brutal manner? Have we even lost him? While the judiciary in Pakistan is our only hope for justice, people’s voices and solidarity of people from all around the world continues to strengthen our resolve. We will not quit till we find Raza. We will continue to raise our voice for him on all platforms, and through social media campaigns, namely, #FindRaza and #BringBackRaza on Twitter.

We call upon the world leaders, if you are truly committed to peace then urge the Pakistani government to fulfill our demand. We demand that Raza be returned to his family safe and sound, immediately and unconditionally. We urge the international community to come forward and show their solidarity with Raza by signing this petition.

SIGN the petition HERE
https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Government_of_Pakistan_Find_Raza/?wdCshab&utm_source=sharetools&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=petition-475980-Government_of_Pakistan_Find_Raza&utm_term=dCshab%2Ben