UN expert asks Pak to locate four disappeared activists

United Nations, Jan 12 (PTI) A United Nations human rights expert has called on the Pakistani authorities to make

it a top priority to locate and protect four disappeared human rights and social media campaigners, saying no government

should tolerate attacks on its citizens.

"I strongly urge the Government of Pakistan to take every step possible to locate the four missing activists, a first

step toward reemphasising its commitment to freedom of expression at the beginning of the year," said David Kaye, the

UN Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of expression, in a news release from the Office of the UN High Commissioner

for Human Rights.

The four activists  Waqas Goraya, Asim Saeed, Salman Haider and Ahmed Raza Naseer  went missing this month. They

had been accused of promoting blasphemy, a criminal offense in Pakistan.

"No government should tolerate attacks on its citizens," the human rights expert said.

"By making the investigation of these disappearances an urgent priority, the Pakistani authorities can send a strong

signal that they take seriously the responsibility for the life and security of all of its citizens, particularly in

cases involving freedom of expression."

"Free expression campaigners and experts have long called  for the abolition of criminal blasphemy provisions in

Pakistan, which may carry the death penalty," Kaye said.

"Not only are such laws incompatible with international human rights law, but they also facilitate threats by state

and non-state actors seeking to target expression."

The Special Rapporteur stressed that "all States have an obligation to promote a diverse space and culture for

expression, but such culture does not create itself."