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October 30, 2020

Journalist's abduction: HRCP, PBC, PFUJ demand judicial inquiry

National

October 30, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) and the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) have rejected the investigation team announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan to probe the abduction of Karachi-based Geo News journalist Ali Imran Syed.

The organizations say the team in question consists of personnel with links to state agencies and who are allegedly culpable in similar past activities. 

In a joint statement, Harris Khalique, secretary-general of HRCP, Abid Saqi, vice chairman of PBC, Shahzada Zulfiqar, president of PFUJ, and Nasir Zaidi, secretary-general of PFUJ, said the situation warranted an independent and transparent investigation into the apparent enforced disappearance of Ali. They called for the formation of a judicial commission consisting of a judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

“Last month, the FIA, which has been tasked with investigating the abduction of Ali, registered fabricated cases against 49 journalists, some of whom have been summoned to probe baseless cases against the journalist community. How can such an authority ensure a fair enquiry?” the statement said.

They demanded immediate constitution of a judicial commission, urging the prime minister to refer the case to the Supreme Court in view of the rise in threats to journalists. The organisations said they would continue to support the cause of human rights, press freedom and freedom of expression which have been restricted under the current government.