Still missing: 20 days on, Ghotki police fail to recover kidnapped journalist
SUKKUR: Ghotki Police have failed to recover the Mirpur Mathelo- based reporter, Hakim Abro, who was kidnapped from the limits of Sarhad police station on April 22.
The Ghotki SSP had promised the protesting journalists that the abductee will be recovered shortly but there has been no success despite the lapse of 20 days.
On April 22, Abro, accompanied by a police constable, was travelling to his village from Sarhad. Their vehicle was intercepted by armed assailants, who kidnapped them. After covering some distance, however, they released the police constable and took Abro away with them. The incident sparked anger among the journalist fraternity, who held protest demonstrations, demanding his safe recovery.
Two days after the incident, Ghotki SSP Saqib Sultan Mehmood sprang into action and met the protesting journalists. He asked the family to sign an undertaking, absolving the police of any responsibility if the abductee was harmed during the rescue operation. The journalist fraternity and the family rejected this condition, saying that it was the responsibility of the police to ensure his safe recovery.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, the victim’s brother, Shafi Muhammad Abro, decried the derogatory attitude of the police officials. He recalled that earlier, the police had termed the kidnapping a drama and had only changed their stance after the journalists had started protesting. He added that Sarhad police SHO Ghulam Muhammad Mahar had been attempting to recover the abductee but the SSP had transferred him and appointed Muhammad Khan Abro in his stead. When the latter started investigating the kidnapping, he too was transferred and Rab Nawaz Rajpar was posted as the SHO. He claimed that the frequent transfer of SHOs was evidence of the police’s apathy towards the issue.
Association of TV journalists, Ghotki, chairperson, Allah Warayo Bozdar condemned the poor performance of the police, claiming they were disappointed by the Ghotki SSP, who despite the tall claims, had failed to recover the kidnapped journalist. Bozdar said they had deferred the protest demonstrations in the wake of the killing of Jarwar police station SHO in an encounter with dacoits.
He warned that if Hakim Abro was not recovered within 48 hours, they would launch a protest movement against the police.
Ghotki SSP Mehmood was not available for comments. Sukkur DIG Dr Kamran Fazal told The Express Tribune that the task to recover Hakim Abro had been relegated to the Khairpur city SP Masood Bangash.