Missing Pakistani blogger Salman Haider found

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A Pakistan Navy soldier stands guard while a loaded Chinese ship prepares to depart, at Gwadar port, about 700 kilometers (435 miles) west of Karachi. Pakistan, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. VOA

Islamabad, Jan 28, 2017: Missing Pakistani blogger Salman Haider has been found, Geo News reported, quoting police sources.

Haider, a poet and academic who has been a vocal opponent of religious extremism and the Pakistani authorities’ abuse of opposition activists, had been reported missing from Islamabad on January 8. His disappearance led to an online campaign for his safe return.

At least five bloggers and activists reportedly disappeared in the country and Haider was the best known among them. 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.

According to family of Haider, he was with friends in the Bani gala area here and told his wife that he would return soon. But later she received a text message from Haider’s phone saying his car should be taken from Koral Chowk.

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. (IANS)