A Pakistani activist who mysteriously disappeared in January last year has now contacted his family and is expected to return home soon, his brother said on Thursday. Social activist Samar Abbas disappeared while visiting the capital, Islamabad, along with four other men who were picked up from different cities in the span of a few days. “He is in contact but not at home,” Samar Abbas’s brother, Ashar Abbas, told Reuters, adding that his brother resurfaced two days ago. The other men returned after five weeks and have since fled the country due to a widespread campaign that erupted in their absence alleging they were behind online blogs that carried blasphemous content.
Blasphemy is a highly charged allegation in Pakistan where insulting the Prophet Muhammad is punishable by death and even being accused could lead to mob violence and lynchings. Right groups say the law is frequently abused to settle personal scores.
Two of the men, Waqass Goraya and Aasim Saeed, have since said they were tortured by intelligence agencies. A third, prominent poet and playwright Salman Haider, tweeted about being tortured by his captors.
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