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PAKISTAN: Abduction of lawyer and human rights defender, Mr. Shafiq Ahmed


For the second time in eight months, the 38-year-old lawyer and human rights defender Shafiq Ahmed was abducted in Punjab province.

The lawyer was first abducted in March 2019. He had been held incommunicado and forced to confess that he was using his social networks to communicate with anti-Pakistani elements. He was then found on the side of the road in a nearby town. Shafiq Ahmed was a victim of particularly serious acts of torture and was hospitalized for several months.

The lawyer was then charged under the Cybercrime Act, a law challenged in Pakistan as seriously infringing freedom of expression. He is accused of having transmitted messages and information to the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), an indigenous movement in the tribal areas. However, the lawyer was released on bail.

Shafiq Ahmed is indeed known for his publications on Twitter and Facebook in support of the Pashtun protection movement and against state policies. According to his brother, he received many death threats by phone.

According to the latest information, he was abducted again on 10 December 2019, International Human Rights Day, by half a dozen people in civilian clothes, probably belonging to the famous Pakistani intelligence agency, the ISI. The men waiting for him in front of his house forced the lawyer to get in a vehicle late in the afternoon. He is still not found today.

The OIAD expresses its deep concern about the risk of torture and even extrajudicial execution of lawyer Shafiq Ahmed in the context of this arbitrary detention.

The OIAD urges the authorities to find lawyer Shafiq Ahmed and prosecute the perpetrators of this abduction.