KARACHI, June 8: Advocate and civil rights campaigner Syed Mohammad Iqbal Kazmi, who went missing on Wednesday afternoon, was released on Friday morning by his captors on condition that he leave Karachi within five days.
Mr Kazmi had recently filed petitions in the Sindh High Court on the May 12 violence and the new Pemra ordinance in which major political and government figures were named as respondents.
Upon regaining his freedom, Mr Kazmi narrated his harrowing ordeal to journalists at the committee room of the Karachi Bar Association in the City Courts on Friday.
Later in the evening, Korangi police registered an FIR against unknown persons on the complaint of Mr Kazmi.
He said that he had left his residence in Korangi at about 3pm on Wednesday in his Alto car, bearing the number-plate AKV 520, to drop off his eldest son at the house of his mother-in-law in Gulistan-i-Jauhar.
“On my way back some unidentified persons in a Prado land-cruiser bearing an AFR 2007 number-plate started chasing me. As I reached near Qayyumabad, they intercepted my car and forced me to get into their vehicle,” he said. He added that after a 30-minute drive they took him to a bungalow with his face covered and his hands tied. He was kept in a room without a fan or a bed.
With tears welling up in his eyes, Mr Kazmi said that two men tortured him during this period and quizzed him about his association with Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan and the reason for filing a petition against the Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain.
They also asked him to disclose the names of his supporters. He claimed his captors used to throw cold water on him to force him to stay awake.
“They burnt the sensitive parts of my body with cigarettes and pressed my fingers with stones,” he said.
Mr Kazmi said that his captors threatened him with death if he did not disclose the names of those who had asked him to file the petition. He said his cellphone containing photo clips of the May 12 incidents, Rs12,000 in cash, a telephone directory and other documents were taken from him.
He said that one of the men -- whom the others referred to as ‘sahib’ – talked to him in a much more civilised manner. He said the man grilled him and asked him to withdraw the petition. Mr Kazmi said he was given some plain white papers to sign and then asked to bathe.
“As I came out of the bathroom I was given a cup of tea with two tablets, after which I fell asleep. When I came to I was lying near some thorn-bushes near Clifton.”
Mr Kazmi said that after much difficulty he hailed a taxi, whose driver facilitated him by letting him call his wife and took him to the City Courts. He said that he would neither surrender nor leave Karachi even at the cost of his and his family’s lives.
His wife, Sadia Kazmi, also said that the family would not leave Karachi and would face whatever happened. She criticised the officials of the Sindh home department for what she described as their failure to register an FIR on time and to provide security to her family.
Naheed Afzal, counsel for Mr Kazmi, condemned the kidnapping of Mr Kazmi and vowed to lodge an FIR with the police.
Referring to the petition filed by Mr Kazmi, he said Sindh Chief Minister Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim, federal Interior Secretary Syed Kamal Shah, MQM chief Altaf Hussain, the Sindh CM’s Adviser on Home Affairs Waseem Akhtar, Chief Secretary Shakeel Durrani, Home Secretary Ghulam M. Muhtaram Naqvi, Provincial Police Officer Niaz A. Siddiqui, CCPO Azhar A. Farooqui, the SHO City Courts police station, SHO Jamshed Quarters, and others were named as respondents.
Mr Afzal said that in case any harm came to Iqbal Kazmi, his family or his property, the entire responsibility would rest with the Sindh government and added that Mr Kazmi should be provided with proper security. He demanded the recovery of his vehicle within 24 hours and said that Mr Kazmi had been threatened thrice at different times after filing the petition.
KBA General Secretary Naeem Qureshi said that the lawyers were fully supporting Mr Kazmi. He said that he had contacted the home secretary to ask him to provide security to the Kazmi family, but he (the home secretary) had refused to do so. He said the issue would be discussed in the next meeting.