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Movement for safe recovery of missing Shias launched in Karachi

Karachi, Oct 7 (UNI) A movement for the safe recovery of missing Shia persons has been announced here, with leaders and members of the Shia community presenting themselves for voluntary arrest to force the Government to take action on the issue.

The Jail Bharo (Fill the Jail) Movement was initiated yesterday in protest against the forced disappearances of 150 Shia persons, community leaders said. The leaders have vowed to present themselves for arrest every Friday till those missing are safely recovered, said a Dawn report today.

The movement, which began after a demonstration against forced disappearances, is expected to spread to other areas of the country. At least 150 Shia persons have been picked up in the country over the course of three years.

"Picking up young people from their homes and holding them captive is a violation of human rights," Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen Deputy Speaker General Hasan Zafar Naqvi said as he presented himself for voluntary arrest at the Khoja Shia Asna Asheri Jama Masjid in Karachi's Kharadar.

Family members of those who had been picked up earlier this year, including the 90-year-old father of one captive, also surrendered themselves alongside Advocate Tasavur Rizvi, Alamdar Haider and Razi Rizvi after a demonstration.
Leaders and workers of different Shia parties participated in the protest in large numbers. "Our patience is being mistaken for weakness. We will continue our movement till the innocent are freed," Naqvi said during the demonstration.

"In our society, criminals are protected, but the oppressed are being burdened with problems," he added. "Unspeakable incidents of human rights violations are taking place at the hands of powerful institutions," he alleged.

"Those who give sermons in favour of the Constitution are committing illegalities," Naqbi said, adding that while "amendments are being made to laws to protect the corrupt, nobody is concerned with the plight of 20 million people."

"We are desperate to see our children. Why are they being held hostage? Their recovery is our number one priority."

Demanding the safe recovery of the missing persons, Naqvi said that if any of them had been involved in any unlawful activity, they should be presented before a court. "The Government's silence on the disappearances is like throwing salt on wounds," he said.

Those who presented themselves for arrest today were transferred to an unknown location in a police van. They will be kept at the Baghdadi Police Station for the time being, sources said.
UNI XC-SNU 0834
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