Pakistan: Reporter of television channel returns safely after being abducted for 22 hours
Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) welcomes the safe return of Geo News senior reporter, Ali Imran Syed, after he went missing for over 22 hours. PPF also urges the relevant authorities to ensure Syed’s case is investigated and to ensure that there is accountability of such attacks on journalists.
On October 24, Pakistan’s largest television network Geo News, reported that Syed had gone missing on October 23 in Karachi. He had gone to a nearby bakery but did not return home.
Geo News Managing Director Azhar Abbas said that the news organisation had informed the police. In a second update on Twitter, Abbas added that they were in touch with the federal and provincial government as well as law enforcement agencies.
Following Syed’s disappearance, both provincial and government members expressed concern. Geo News reported that Prime Minister Imran Khan had directed the interior ministry to stay in touch with the provincial Sindh government and to monitor progress of the situation. Meanwhile, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said he wanted an hourly progress report and directed the provincial police chief to ensure Syed was recovered.
22 hours later, Syed returned home. According to Geo News, he told his wife that he was not physically harmed.
A joint fact finding committee has been formed on the instructions of Prime Minister Imran Khan to “ascertain the facts surrounding the disappearance and causes behind the same”. PPF urges the fact finding committee to ensure a thorough and conclusive investigation into the incident.
PPF echoes the alarm from the media community as well as the civil society regarding Syed’s disappearance. It is imperative on the authorities to investigate this incident and to ensure that those who are behind this act are held accountable.
The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) condemned the incident and asked the provincial police chief to release CCTV footage of the incident.
Meanwhile, the journalists’ safety association, Editors for Safety (EfS) expressed “grave concern” over Syed’s mysterious disappearance. As per the EfS statement they feared that Syed “may have been forcibly taken away because of his work on the recent political events in Karachi, including the arrest of opposition member, Captain Safdar”.