Blogger Goraya breaks silence on abduction but refuses to identify his kidnappers

An activist abducted last month has broken his silence on his weeks-long disappearance, but is refusing to point fingers at who his abductors were.

Ahmad Waqas Goraya was among five activists who vanished in Pakistan in early January.

Human Rights Watch, opposition lawmakers and activists have said their near simultaneous abductions pointed to government involvement in a country with a history of enforced disappearances.

Goraya was freed at the end of January along with at least three others and swiftly fled back to the Netherlands, where he has lived for the last decade.

“I felt I would never come back, I would never see my son and family,” the 34-year-old told AFP during a phone interview in which he frequently became agitated.

Goraya, who like the other activists criticised religious extremism and the military establishment, refused to say anything about his captors or describe what happened during his ordeal.

But he angrily rejected accusations that he was a traitor for daring to be vocal about alleged abuses of power in Pakistan, insisting he was a true patriot.

“Nothing was against Pakistan, nothing was against Islam, I was critical of policies because I want to see a better Pakistan,” he said, adding in a later message:”We want a Pakistan with rule of law.”

Goraya also said he fears a virulent ultra right-wing campaign to paint him as a blasphemer while he was missing has followed him to Europe.

The charge, which engulfed Pakistani social media and was repeated by mainstream television hosts, is an incendiary one that can carry the death penalty. Even unproven allegations have caused mob lynchings and violence.
At least 65 people including lawyers, judges and activists have been murdered by vigilantes over blasphemy allegations since 1990, according to the Center for Research and Security Studies

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