Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Joint Director Sajid Gondal has been missing from Islamabad since last night, his family confirmed on Friday.
His car was found in front of the National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC) on Park Road, located in Chak Shahzad, and his family says they have not been able to contact him since.
According to his family, last night Gondal visited a family-owned dairy farm in Chak Shahzad but the staff said he left later in the evening.
The SECP official, who is also a former journalist, did not come home, his family said.
Earlier this morning, one of the employees at the farm told his family that his car was parked outside NARC.
Though a formal complaint was not lodged at the time, local police, as part of routine procedure, examined Gondal's car and informed the family that due to heavy rain earlier in the day, no fingerprints could be found on the vehicle.
Gondal's wife submitted a complaint of the incident in the Shahzad Town police station, expressing suspicion that her husband had been "kidnapped by unidentified persons". She urged the police to ensure his return, adding that the family "did not have any enmity". The police are yet to file a first information report.
Meanwhile, the SECP released a press statement expressing solidarity with Gondal's family. It further said that it was "providing complete assistance to the family in this moment".
"The SECP staff are praying and hoping for an early and safe return of Mr Gondal," the statement concluded.
Earlier in the day, a team of SECP officials met Gondal's family and it was decided that a team of lawyers would be consulted to decide if a case should be filed on behalf of the family or the department.
'Bring Back Sajid Gondal' was the top trend on Twitter in Pakistan after reports of him going missing started circulating on social media earlier today.
Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari took notice of the incident and said in a tweet that the police have been directed to register an FIR.
"Protection of each citizen's life is our constitutional obligation. Rule of law must prevail — all must be dealt with according to the law," she said.
Rights body Amnesty International expressed concern over the incident and urged authorities to "establish Gondal's whereabouts immediately".
"Sajid Gondal, a former journalist and an official with the SECP, is missing and feared to have been disappeared. We call upon the authorities to establish his whereabouts immediately," the organisation tweeted.
PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal termed Gondal's disappearance as "disturbing news" and urged the government to "immediately take all necessary steps to ensure his safe recovery".
"Such acts bring bad name to Pakistan," Iqbal said in a tweet.