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Pakistan Human Rights Commission Pressures Police To Find Missing Activists

Pakistani rights activists hold images of bloggers who have disappeared, during a protest in Lahore on January 12.

The National Commission for Human Rights of Pakistan (NCHRP) has urged the Interior Ministry to locate five rights activists and bloggers who have been missing since last week.

NCHRP Chairman Chaudhary Muhammad Shafique told RFE/RL on January 13 that his organization submitted a request to the ministry on January 12, as dozens of activists rallied in the city of Karachi in support of the missing.

"We are trying through our independent investigation to determine what happened.... So far, there are many misconceptions and mysteries going on and nobody is in the position to determine who the real perpetrators are," Muhammad Shafique said.

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said on January 12 that Washington was taking the disappearances "very seriously" and will "continue to monitor the situation in Pakistan."

The five missing men include university professor Salman Haider, known for criticizing the Taliban and the government over its alleged inaction against militants, and Shi'ite activist Samar Abbas, who heads the Civil Progressive Alliance Pakistan.

Pakistan's government has been under pressure since the activists disappeared, and the parliament has demanded an investigation.

With reporting by AP and