08 February 2017

Pak bloggers leave country after receiving threats for ‘blasphemous’ opinions

Three of the five bloggers detained in January by Pakistan’s security agencies for writing against religious extremism and security operations in Balochistan and the tribal areas have left the country because of threats to their lives.

Waqas Goraya, Ahmed Raza Naseer and Asim Saeed are believed to have left the country in the past week after receiving threats following allegations of blasphemy against them.

Salman Haider, the most prominent of the detained bloggers, is in hiding in Pakistan as he is banned from travelling abroad while an investigation is underway against him. The whereabouts of the fifth blogger, Samar Abbas, remain a mystery.

The families of the rights activists who “disappeared” during January 4-7 held a news conference in Islamabad last month and said online smear campaigns were being conducted against their loved ones. These campaigns labelled the activists as blasphemers, an offence punishable by death in Pakistan. [Hindustan Times House] Read more