KARACHI: A PTI social media activist who attended a protest against “enforced disappearances” of his fellow party workers has been missing since Friday, family and the police said on Saturday.
Mohammed Salman, general secretary of PTI Sindh’s social media wing and chairman-elect of Union Council-8 at Karachi’s Burnes Road, had left his home in the New Chali neighbourhood on March 31 at 4pm to attend the party protest at the Karachi Press Club (KPC), his brother Muhammad Rauf told Dawn.
Mr Rauf, who has also petitioned the Sindh High Court (SHC) in this regard, said that when he called his brother for iftar, his cell phone was powered off. He then spoke with Mr Salman’s friends, who confirmed that he attended the rally. Mr Rauf said his brother went missing in the evening and was allegedly taken away from the area.
He said he considered his brother’s “enforced disappearance” as part of the alleged crackdown on PTI activists, as “so far, four other social media activists have been taken away from Karachi only”.
Mr Rauf said he visited the Artillery Maidan Police Station at 3am on Saturday to get an FIR lodged, but it couldn’t be done. However, after much persuasion, the police just received his application and gave him a receipt.
Brother petitions SHC after police ‘refuse’ to register FIR
Syed Asad Raza, senior superintendent of police for Karachi’s south zone, confirmed that the family had submitted an application. He told Dawn that the PTI held a rally outside the KPC on Friday evening, but it was not known from where Mr Salman went missing.
SSP Raza said he had asked the police to approach the family and get information from them about the incident.
“We have filed a missing report,” he said, adding that “we have confirmed through CCTV footage that no such abduction or arrest (of Mr Salman) was made at the KPC or its surrounding areas by the South police or other law enforcement agencies”.
Brother petitions SHC
Meanwhile, Mr Rauf petitioned the Sindh High Court on Saturday against his brother’s alleged abduction.
His counsel submitted that Mr Salman was the secretary of PTI’s social media team in Karachi and some other members of his team had also been picked up recently.
He said the petitioner had approached police officials and the relevant police station, but Mr Salman could not be found and the police were not registering a case.
Some identical petitions were also filed earlier this week seeking to know the whereabouts of other party activists. An SHC division has already issued notices to provincial and police authorities on such petitions for April 6.
‘Complete breakdown of law’
Separately, PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi also alleged on Twitter that four social media workers had been picked up. “Our social media correspondents Arshad Siddiqui, Mudassar Rehman, Fahad Siddiqui and Salman Sahil were picked up from Karachi,” he said.
PTI Secretary General Asad Umar said it was a “complete breakdown of law in the country”. He tweeted: “Rampant abductions of citizens happening on a daily basis. This is not happening in some report corner of the country but in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta and other major cities of the country.”
Qasim Suri, another party leader and a former deputy speaker of the National Assembly, tweeted a photo of Mr Salman and said that “another member of PTI social media team has been illegally abducted”.
Mr Salman’s alleged disappearance comes a day after another PTI social media figure, Azhar Mashwani, returned home after being missing for eight days.
Published in Dawn, April 2nd, 2023