Islamabad: Prominent Pakistani academic and human rights activist Salman Haider, who went missing earlier this month from Islamabad, is “fine and safe” and has returned home, his brother Zeeshan Haider confirmed to Dawn.
However, he did not divulge further details.
A professor of Fatima Jinnah University, Haider, went missing on January 6, following which a report was registered at the Lohi Bher police station by his wife. Police found the professor’s car from Koral Chowk but did not receive any information about him.
Haider, who has been a vocal opponent of religious extremism and the Pakistani authorities’ abuse of opposition activists, was reported missing from Islamabad on January 8. His disappearance led to an online campaign for his safe return.
Earlier, social media activists Waqas Goraya and Asim Saeed disappeared from Lahore on January 4, Ahmed Raza Naseer went missing from Sheikhupura on January 7 while Salman Haider vanished from Islamabad on January 6.
The others who have vanished were critical of organised religion, the influence of clerics in Pakistan and the country’s powerful military on social media.
Haider was reported missing after he failed to return home on the night of January 6. That night, his wife had received a text message from his number, telling her the location of his car and where to recover it from.
Police said the FIR was registered on the basis of a complaint lodged by his brother Zeeshan.
In 2014, when sectarian killings were rife, Haider had penned a poem titled “Kafir”, which quickly went viral on social media. The poem critiqued the intolerance prevailing in the country and quickly garnered critical acclaim.
After his disappearance, hundreds protested in major cities in Pakistan, calling for the activists’ safe return. Relatives and rights groups allege that the country’s powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency was behind the disappearances as part of a larger crackdown on dissent.
No group had claimed responsibility for the abductions.