BACKGROUND FOR: Idris Khattak Abducted for exposing disappearances

Described by his daughters as an “enthusiastic but terrible” cook, Idris Khattak is a man of many interests. He speaks Russian, reads voraciously, and raises chickens that he loves chatting to. Idris is also Pakistan’s expert on enforced disappearances. He spent years documenting this crime under international law for Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. But in a cruel twist, Idris, too, disappeared.

It was November 13th 2019. Idris was on his way home from the capital, Islamabad, when his rented car was stopped. He hasn’t been seen since. In Pakistan, the authorities use enforced disappearance to silence human rights defenders like Idris, and other critics as well.

With Amnesty’s help, Idris’ 20-year-old daughter, Talia, began fighting for her father’s return, despite being warned not to. Her bravery paid off. In June, the authorities admitted they had Idris in their custody and that they would be charging him under the Official Secrets Act. But they still haven’t revealed where he is. His family fears he could be charged with espionage. If convicted, he could be jailed for many years or even sentenced to death.

“I look at pictures of Papa, and only dream of him walking into the room to be with us again,” says Talia. “We deserve answers and he deserves the protection of the law.”

Tell Pakistan to let Idris’ family know where he is and release him or bring him to a fair trial in court.

You may use all or part of the sample letter, insert your own sentences after reading the overview above, or copy and paste the letter into an email message. Handwritten letters can be very powerful, but other methods of communication are also effective.

Sample Letter

Ambassador Asad Majeed Khan
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
3517 International Ct NW
Washington, DC 20008             Today’s date                                                

Dear Ambassador, I urge you to request the release of Idris Khattak, Pakistan’s expert on enforced disappearances, who has himself been subjected to enforced disappearance.

If there is credible and admissible evidence that he has committed an internationally recognized crime, then please give him a trial promptly and fairly in a civilian court, without recourse to the death penalty. If not, release him immediately and unconditionally.

His daughters have not seen Idris since he was abducted in November 2019. They don’t know where he is or whether he has his medication. They just want their father back home safe with them.

I will be watching this case closely. Yours sincerely, Your first and last name

(it is most effective to have a return address here, but if you are uncomfortable with that, at least put your city, USA).

This letter in Word format here or see below to download it for copying, editing or printing


Ambassador Asad Majeed Khan
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan 3517 International Ct NW
Washington, DC 20008
Twitter: @PakEmbassyDC

(Salutation: Dear Ambassador)


Send your messages of support to his daughters Talia and Shumaisa. You can send photos of you reading or of yourself gardening – two things Idris loved. Tweet
them @TaliaKhattak and @shumaisa77
or send letters to:
Amnesty International South Asia Regional Office
23/2 Horton Place Colombo 07 Sri Lanka (postage is $1.20 or a forever international stamp)

Letter writing Tips download below

Reporting your messages