PPF alarmed by reports of Geo News producer Zubair Anjum being picked up; urge authorities to ensure his safe recovery
Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) is alarmed by reports that Geo News producer Zubair Anjum was “picked up” from his residence in Karachi and urges authorities to ensure his safe recovery.
According to Geo News, Anjum was “picked up” by police officers from his residence in the city’s Model Colony area on June 6. Quoting residents from the area, the report added that two police vans and double-cabin vehicles” had reached Anjum’s house near the intersection and taken him.
Anjum’s brother Ali Siddiqui told PPF that around 1 am, eight to ten people in plainclothes had come and kidnapped the journalists, adding that some of the individuals were in police uniforms and others were wearing masks. Siddiqui said that Anjum had been arrested by these individuals without them showing any First Information Report (FIR) or arrest warrant.
“We have no idea where they have taken him. We asked them where they were taking him, but they did not respond,” Siddiqui lamented, adding: “My brother used to share every detail with me, but he never mentioned that someone is threatening him before.”
Another brother of the journalist, Wajahat Anjum, speaking to Geo, said that the individuals had taken away the digital video recorder of the CCTV installed in the neighborhood. Wajahat was quoted saying that the individuals had entered the house with firearms and family members were “manhandled”.
“They asked for Zubair bhai and took him away at gunpoint. They also took along his mobile phone,” he was quoted saying in the report, adding that no reason for the arrest had been given by the police.
As per Geo, a missing case was registered at Model Colony Police Station. However, the report added that Korangi Senior Superintendent of Police had said that his force had no information about the arrest and that no police station or unit had reported taking him into custody.
Karachi Union of Journalists President Faheem Siddiqi, who is also a member of the Sindh Commission for Protection of Journalists and Other Media Practitioners (CPJMP), told PPF that the Commission had called for a meeting at 3pm on June 6 and would look into the matter.
A statement issued by CPJMP Chairperson Justice Retired Rasheed A Rizvi stated that Anjum had been abducted around 2:30 am by unknown armed persons.
“Zubair Anjum is not wanted in any criminal case therefore it is a clear case of abduction. It is the duty of the state to protect the life and liberty of all citizens,” the statement read and called upon the Sindh home department secretary and Sindh inspector general of police to recover Anjum and report this to the Commission within 36 hours.
In a statement, the Karachi Press Club (KPC) President Saeed Sarbazi, Secretary Shoaib Ahmed and members of the board of directors strongly condemned the incident and termed it a way to constrain freedom of expression of opinion and to take journalists’ freedom under hostage. The press club asked the prime minister, interior minister, foreign minister and provincial chief minister to take immediate notice of the incident and demanded the immediate recovery of KPC member, Anjum.
The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) condemned the incident. In a statement, shared by The News, PFUJ President GM Jamali and Secretary General Rana Azeem were quoted saying: “If someone has done something illegal, the government must obey the law of the land. He must be charged and dealt with legitimately, but any media person who is wrongfully detained will not be authorised, and we condemn such incidents of missing media persons.”
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists Dastoor President Nawaz Raza and Secretary General AH Khanzada also condemned the incident. The PFUJ Dastoor leadership said that the police action, without any warrant or case, was a clear violation of the law and fundamental human rights. They demanded the provincial chief minister to take notice of the incident and demanded the immediate release of the journalist and for action to be taken against the perpetrators of this “unlawful act”.