The Lahore High Court (LHC) was informed on Tuesday by the Punjab government that efforts to find anchorperson Imran Riaz Khan, whose whereabouts remain unknown since his arrest on May 11, were under way as his lawyer contended that their patience was “wearing thin”.
The remarks came as the LHC resumed hearing a plea seeking to find the anchorperson, who was among the individuals apprehended in the wake of protests that erupted in the country after the arrest of PTI chairman Imran Khan.
Police had admitted to having arrested the anchorperson from Sialkot airport and shifting him to prison. They added that he was released after the government withdrew his detention orders and since then, his whereabouts remain unknown.
A first information report (FIR) was registered with Civil Lines police on May 16 on the complaint of the anchorperson’s father, Muhammad Riaz.
The FIR was registered against “unidentified persons” and police officials for allegedly kidnapping Imran, invoking Section 365 (kidnapping or abducting with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
At the previous hearing, Punjab Inspector General Dr Usman Anwar had told the LHC that phone numbers which had been traced back to Afghanistan were involved in the case.
Meanwhile, a special working group of the Punjab police on Monday held a meeting to review the progress of all the police units, including the Counter Terrorism Department, for the recovery of the missing anchorperson.
An official was also quoted as saying that the working group was also in contact with the Ministry of Defence to exchange the information on Riaz.
At the outset of today’s hearing, Punjab Advocate General Shan Gul told the court that efforts were under way to locate the missing anchorperson.
He said that the Punjab police chief had asked him to assist in the case. He told the court that Imran’s father had been asked to become a part of the special working group that had been formed.
“There is no doubt that Imran Riaz is a renowned journalist,” he said. Gul also said that the defence ministry had information regarding the case and sought permission from the court to share it.
Meanwhile, the anchorperson’s lawyer told the court that his side’s patience was “wearing thin”.
“I fear no one except God […] You may say what you wish to say, don’t worry about me,” the LHC CJ told the lawyer.
He subsequently directed Imran’s father to contact the Punjab police working group regarding his concerns and adjourned the hearing till next week.