KARACHI: Zubair Anjum, an executive producer at Geo News, who was allegedly picked up by plainclothes men accompanied by the police in the early hours of Tuesday, returned home early on Wednesday, the channel said.
According to his family, Mr Anjum was at his home in Model Colony when two police mobiles and a double-cabin pickup arrived at around 1am, the victim’s brother Saadat Ali, told Dawn.
The ‘armed men’ allegedly barged into his residence, harassed the family and took away Mr Anjum. They also confiscated his cell phone and a digital video recorder from a neighbouring home.
Mr Ali said some of the men were wearing masks and forcibly took his brother away. Police denied involvement in the incident, and media reports quoted Korangi SSP Tariq Nawaz as saying that the journalist was not in their custody.
However, the journalist returned home after midnight on Wednesday, Geo News reported. The channel quoted his brother Sadaat as saying that Mr Anjum was “in good health”.
Journalists’ bodies condemn Zubair Anjum’s disappearance, call on PM, CJP and COAS to take notice
This is the second such incident in a week. On June 1, lawyer and rights activist Jibran Nasir was “picked up by unidentified men” when he was returning to his home in Karachi’s Defence area with his wife. Mr Nasir also returned home almost 24 hours later.
Journalists’ bodies take notice
Earlier, the Sindh government’s Commission for Protection of Journalists and Other Media Practitioners took notice of Mr Anjum’s alleged abduction and issued directions to relevant authorities for his recovery within 36 hours, said Fahim Siddiqi, who is a member of the commission.
The commission’s chairperson, retired Justice Rasheed A. Rizvi, directed the provincial home secretary and police chief to recover Mr Anjum saying that he was not wanted in any criminal case and “therefore, it was a clear case of abduction”.
Several local and international media bodies also condemned the journalist’s abduction and urged the prime minister, interior minister, foreign minister, Sindh chief minister and IG police to take immediate notice.
The International Federation of Journalists and its local affiliate, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, have condemned the journalist’s disappearance and urged the law enforcers and the government to launch an immediate investigation.
The Karachi Press Club, in a statement, said Mr Anjum was a member and condemned his “kidnapping at gunpoint”.
The club said the abduction was “state terrorism” and an attempt to make the freedom of media “hostage” and impose restrictions on freedom of expression.
In a separate statement, the Karachi Union of Journalists said that Mr Anjum had a clean record and had never been involved in any illegal activity.
The KUJ also called on the army chief, chief justice of Pakistan and prime minister to take immediate notice of the incident and warned of a ‘severe reaction’ if their demand was not met.
Published in Dawn, June 7th, 2023