KARACHI: Ali Imran Syed, a senior reporter for Geo News, who went missing on Friday night in the eastern district of Karachi, returned home almost after a day long ordeal on Saturday night.
Imran, a resident of Block 8-A, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, went missing on a Friday between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. when he went to the bakery but did not return home. The family has also informed that the reporter’s car is parked outside his residence while his cellphone is also at home.
It can be noted here that Ali Imran disappeared a day after he broadcast CCTV footage on Geo News related to the arrest of Pakistan Muslim League leader-Nawaz Captain Safdar Awan from a hotel in Karachi. The family then went to the police on Friday night and registered the kidnapping case at the Sacchal Police Station on behalf of the journalist’s older brother, Syed Talib Abbas Rizvi.
Rizvi stated that his sister was kidnapped by unknown people for unknown reasons. Senior police officers from the Karachi police were also informed of his mysterious disappearance. Following violent protests by journalists across the country in which all journalists, media, civil society and human rights organizations and a number of journalists participated, Ali returned to his mother’s house after enduring daily trials. The police said that although the journalist had been discharged, an investigation was underway and they were still trying to get CCTV footage and record the reporter’s statement for further investigation.
Earlier, the head of the DIG Criminal Investigation Agency Arif Hanif, who has the additional indictment of the Karachi Additional IG, together with the Head of the Anti-Violent Crimes Cell visited the reporter’s residence and assured the family of their full cooperation to restore journalists safely. Senior police officers also inspected the crime scene and public areas where the journalist was missing and also carried out investigations.
Meanwhile, across the country a large number of journalists joined to protest against the disappearance of Ali Imran Syed and demanded that the authorities immediately release him without injury.
In Karachi, members of the Karachi Press Club, three factions of the Journalists Union and the Karachi Crime Journalists Association, journalists working with various media, members of civil society and human rights organizations attended the protest to express their serious concern over his disappearance and demand the government ensure his recovery. the earliest.
The leaders of the journalist body, including Imtiaz Khan Faran, Fahim Siddiqui, Ahmed Malik, Aajiz Jamali and Tariq Abul Hasan, called Syed’s disappearance an attack on freedom of expression. They say frequent disappearances, kidnappings and killings of journalists have become the norm in the country to suppress voices of dissent for controlling the media, imposing censorship and denying freedom of speech and expression in the country.
Another speaker described Syed as a non-controversial reporter whose final story before disappearing was linked to the arrest of PML-N leader Captain (retired) Mohammad Safdar from a Karachi hotel whose CCTV footage was broadcast by the Geo News channel.
The speakers called on all media houses and journalist bodies to come together and forge a union to defend press freedom in the country. Civil society and human rights activists also took part in the protests to express solidarity with journalists and demand that the authorities ensure Ali Imran’s safe return.
In Rawalpindi, the journalist community staged a protest against PFUJ’s calls for the release of Karachi-based Geo News reporters and warned of endless protests for protection journalists.
The Pakistani Federal Union journalists working with the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Journalists ‘Union and other journalists’ unions staged protests for the release of Ali Imran Syed by “anonymous person known to all” and called on the federal and provincial governments to order a high-level judicial inquiry into the escalating such kidnapping for the last two years. A protest rally held at the Islamabad National Press Club for the release of Ali Imran Syed was aimed at PFUJ and RIUJ administrators, senior journalists and news anchors who demanded his immediate release. They say her disappearance has caused quite a stir among the entire journalist community in the country.
Nasir Zaidi, Secretary General of PFUJ, in his speech reminded the kidnappers and the government that “now the struggle will continue until there is freedom of the press and protection of journalists and media workers,” he said. He said 49 journalists had been ordered by the FIA and one editor-in-chief Mir Shakeel ur Rehman was behind bars with no official cases registered, which was unprecedented and unacceptable.
Senior journalist Hamid Mir said that journalists’ voices could not be silenced in this cowardly manner. “The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is the main obstacle in the ratification of the bill on journalist protection. He desperately demanded Ali Imran Syed’s safe return.
Former PFUJ President Afzal Butt said kidnappings, enforced disappearances of journalists and censorship without notification lead us to a point of no hope. Senator Tahir Bizenjo of the National Party said “It is a pity that the current freedom of the press and freedom of speech and expression is being denied and Imran khan is following the fascism which is so damaging to the country.”
Demanding Ali Imran Syed’s immediate release, RIUJ President Amir Sajad Sayed and Secretary Asif Ali Bhatti said that the PTI government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan is harassing journalists, but we will not be deterred by such tactics and we remain committed to media freedom. . Senior journalists Fouzia Shahid, Tariq Virik, Izhar Niazi, and Farhat Abbasi also addressed the demonstration and demanded Syed’s immediate release.
In Karachi, the law fraternity has also expressed concern over the enforced disappearance of Geo TV reporters and the NAB case against Mir Shakeel ur Rehman.
Likewise, Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, and other leaders including Raza Mian Raza Rabbani and Sherry Rehman, while expressing their serious concern over the disappearance of Geo News senior journalist Ali Imran Syed, called the move an attack on freedom. expression.
“The suppression of votes must stop now,” he said in a statement while expressing concern over the disappearance of a senior journalist. Bilawal said incidents such as the disappearance of journalists created a negative image of Pakistan around the world. He said the media was going through a critical era in Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government.
Former Senate Chairman and senior PPP leader Mian Raza Rabbani said the kidnapping of Ali Imran Syed was severely condemned. “It is feared that Ali Imran Syed will disappear during his journalistic duties,” he said. He said the attack on press freedom violated Articles 19 and 19A of the 1973 Constitution which guaranteed the right to freedom of expression. “The government must ensure a speedy recovery,” he said.
The leader of the PPP parliament in Senate Senate Sherry Rehman strongly criticized Ali Imran’s kidnapping and said this kind of pressure and attacks on the media must stop. He said he had to be taken home immediately and an investigation should be carried out into the matter. “No tolerance should be shown for this kind of action,” he demanded.
Meanwhile, while noting Ali Imran Syed’s disappearance and return, the prime minister has ordered the creation of a Joint Fact-Finding Committee by the Federal Interior Ministry.
The committee will be led by the Additional Director General of FIA, Ehsan Sadiq and its members include Addl IG, Special Branch, Sindh, Joint Director General, IB, Sindh and DIG East, Sindh Police, Karachi.