Pakistani rights activist’s home ransacked, laptops and travel documents taken

Pakistani rights activist’s home ransacked, laptops and travel documents taken

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The Islamabad home of Pakistani journalist and rights activist Marvi Sirmed was ransacked, with laptops and other electronic devices missing, her husband said.

Manzoor Sirmed posted on Twitter on Thursday that the family had found their home ransacked on returning from Lahore after the Eid holiday. He said laptops and other electronic devices and valuable were taken away from the house.

A report in The Daily Times, for which Marvi works, and reports on social media said two laptops, a smartphone the passports of family members and other travel documents were taken. Surprisingly, Marvi’s jewellery — apart from a gold ring and two bangles — was left largely untouched.

Marvi told The Daily Times that the “burglars” had detached her new passports from old ones “and took the valid ones while leaving the expired ones behind”.

The activist is known as a fierce critic of the military and right wing forces in Pakistan. Though she and her husband did not blame anyone for the incident, some reports on social media suggested the powerful intelligence establishment could have been behind it.

The Daily Times editor Raza Rumi posted pictures of the ransacked home on Twitter, highlighting the peculiarity of the “robbery”. “Everything (was) scanned but only laptops, one smartphone and travel documents (were) taken by the ‘thieves’,” wrote Rumi, who has been living in the US since an attempt on his life in 2014.

Rights organisations, journalists, activists and prominent Pakistanis expressed their concern over the incident on social media platforms. Local media reported the incident had added to growing concern over what seems to be the systematic targeting of individuals and institutions critical of the state.

Waqas Goraya, a prominent blogger who left Pakistan after he was forcibly detained by security agencies, alleged on Thursday his family had received phone calls and unsolicited visits from personnel said to be representing the security establishment. He alleged that his family — especially his elderly parents — were being harassed and threatened with abduction if he did not “shut up” on social media.

Goraya had been one of several bloggers who “disappeared” in early 2017. He later alleged that he was abducted, forcibly detained and tortured by security agencies for three weeks.

Another prominent journalist and activist, Gul Bukhari, was briefly abducted at the start of this month while on her way to a TV studio in Lahore. She was released after several hours in illegal detention. It is believed she was targeted for her outspoken views and criticism of anti-democratic forces.__Hindustan Times

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