Karachi [Pakistan]: Senior journalist Syed Muhammad Askari, who was “picked up” by police and personnel in plain clothes from Karachi, returned to his home after more than 24 hours, Geo News reported on Monday.
In yet another case of abduction of journalists, Daily Jang’s senior reporter Askari was picked up late Saturday night from near the Qayyumabad KPT Interchange on Korangi Road in Karachi. The journalist’s wife had filed an application at the Baloch Colony Police Station, accusing police and personnel in plainclothes of “abducting” her husband for unknown reasons, and requested his immediate release.
She further stated that the personnel had their faces covered and were in a police mobile and a white vehicle, adding that they whisked away her husband without giving a reason at around 1:15am on Sunday.
Askari’s car was intercepted without any reason by the masked men while he was returning from a ceremony. Askari introduced himself to the personnel and told them that he was a reporter for Daily Jang, but they still took him away while beating him up.
When a friend of the reporter contacted the police helpline ‘Madadgar 15’ and narrated the incident, the policeman who had received the call asked him to approach the relevant police station, according to The News International.
The SHO of the Zaman Town police station, Rao Rafiq, was informed about the incident, but the police denied any knowledge of it. Korangi SSP Tariq Nawaz said information on the incident was being obtained. The family has demanded the authorities recover Askari immediately.
The office-bearers of the Karachi Press Club, Karachi Union of Journalists, Crime Reporters Association and the Education Reporters Association condemned the incident and demanded Askari’s immediate recovery.
Similarly, an emergency meeting of the executive committee of the Sindh Journalists and Other Media Practitioners Commission was held under the chairmanship of Justice (retd) Rasheed A Razvi.
At the request of the union of journalists, a one-point agenda was called in the meeting by the member of the commission, Karachi Union of Journalists President Fahim Siddiqui, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) Professor Dr Tauseef Ahmad Khan and Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) Dr Jabbar Khattak.
The meeting expressed anger and concern over the frequent kidnapping of journalists.
Several journalists had earlier been picked up in a similar manner in Karachi. The latest such incident was of a Geo News journalist, Zubair Anjum, who was picked up from his residence in Karachi’s Model Colony area last month, as per Geo News.
According to residents of Anjum’s neighbourhood, two police vans and double-cabin vehicles arrived at his house near the Model Colony intersection and took him away.
The incident took place in the same manner as Askari. The victim’s brother, Wajahat Anjum, said police and plain clothes personnel entered their home wielding firearms, while family members were also manhandled during the episode. The motive behind the arrest, however, remains unknown. However, Anjum returned to his home safe and sound a day after being taken in, reported Geo News.