Geo News executive producer Zubair Anjum was purportedly picked up from his residence in Karachi’s Model Colony area, it emerged on Tuesday.
A report published by Geo.tv quoted residents of Anjum’s neighbourhood as saying that two police vans and double-cabin vehicles arrived at his home near the Model Colony intersection late on Monday night and “took him away”.
The report also quoted Anjum’s brother, Wajahat, as saying that officials entered their home “wielding firearms” and that family members were also manhandled.
“They asked for Zubair bhai and took him away at gunpoint. They also took along his mobile phone,” the report added.
Wajahat said that officials also seized the digital video recorder (DVR) of the CCTV installed in Anjum’s neighbourhood.
“The police did not give any reason for the arrest. They did not even let him wear his slippers. We repeatedly kept asking what the matter was,” Wajahat said.
Saadat Ali, another sibling of the journalist, told Dawn.com that some men in plainclothes and others wearing police uniforms entered their home at around 1am.
He said that some of the men were carrying guns and had their masks on, adding that they seemed to be in a “hurry” and forcibly took his brother away.
Meanwhile, the Geo.tv report said that a case was registered at the Model Colony police station. At the same time, the publication quoted Korangi SSP Tariq Nawaz as saying that his force had no information in this regard.
He added that no police station or unit had reported taking the journalist into custody.
“Police from stations in the Korangi district have not arrested Anjum. We are investigating the incident,” the publication reported him as saying.
Separately, several media bodies condemned the journalist’s alleged abduction and called on the government to take notice.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) demanded the immediate and safe release of the journalist. “Such unlawful incidents must come to a halt,” it said.
The International Federation of Journalists and its affiliate, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, condemned Anjum’s disappearance and urged law enforcers and the government to launch an immediate investigation.
The Karachi Press Club (KPC) said in a statement that Anjum was one of their members and condemned his “kidnapping at gunpoint”. The KPC equated the act with restricting freedom of expression.
The KPC also termed the act of forcibly entering the producer’s home as “state terrorism”.
In a statement, the Sindh Commission for Protection of Journalists and other Media Practitioners said Anjum was not wanted in any criminal case, therefore, “this is a clear case of abduction”.
“It is the duty of the state to protect the life and liberty of all citizens,” it said.
The commission directed the Sindh government and police chief to initiate immediate action to recover the journalist and report to it within the next 36 hours.
The Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) also condemned the incident, terming it an “act against freedom of press and freedom of expression”.
CPNE President Syed Irshad Ahmad Arif and Secretary General Ijazul Haque said that arresting a media person from his house late at night was against the guarantee given in Article 19 of the Constitution.
They called on the Sindh chief, interior and information ministers to take immediate notice of the incident and release him.
Additional reporting by Imtiaz Ali.