KARACHI: Senior reporter at Daily Jang, Syed Muhammad Askari returned home in the wee hours of Monday, a day after going missing on Saturday night, Geo News reported.
Askari had disappeared after being allegedly picked up by the police and personnel dressed in plain clothes. The incident was reported at the Baloch Colony Police Station in a complaint filed by the journalist's wife, who accused the police and personnel in plainclothes of “abducting” Askari for unknown reasons.
The complainant, Shazia Askari stated in her application that personnel in police uniforms and plainclothes abducted her husband from a spot near the Qayyumabad Interchange when he and his friend were returning from an event.
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.
She had requested his immediate release.
Meanwhile, journalist bodies expressed profound concern over Askari's disappearance.
In a condemnation statement, Crime Reporters Association President Kashif Hashmi, General Secretary Rehan Chishti and members of the Executive Council strongly condemned the abduction of the senior reporter.
Hashmi and Chishti said in a joint statement that unknown masked persons took the senior journalist with them, which was a reprehensible act.
The provincial government should take this matter seriously and take steps for the early return of Askari, they said.
They added that the journalist community reserves the right to protest.
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.
Rasheed A Razvi said that since Syed Askari was not wanted in any case, it was clearly an incident of kidnapping, and it is the responsibility of the state to protect the life, property and liberty of its citizens.
In the meeting, it was said that the abduction and disappearance of Askari is also a serious violation of Articles 9 and 10 of the Constitution.
The commission chairman asked the Sindh home secretary and inspector general of police to recover the missing journalist within 24 hours. He directed that a report regarding the incident be submitted to the commission within 36 hours.
In a separate statement, the HRCP said all democratic voices must condemn Askari's abduction.
The HRCP said, “That journalists continue to be abducted in this manner, without charge, calls into question not only the state’s commitment to democracy but also its capacity to brook criticism and opposition.
"Askari must be released.”
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