New Delhi: After going missing for nearly a day, a Pakistani journalist who is credited with obtaining footage showing last week’s arrest of the leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), which triggered a political crisis in the country, returned Saturday evening.
Ali Imran Syed, who works for Geo News, had been missing since Friday evening, leading to opposition parties targeting the government over the issue. On Saturday, Geo News tweeted Syed had returned.
— Geo English (@geonews_english) October 24, 2020
Syed had reportedly left home between 7pm and 8pm Friday to go to a nearby bakery.
Sachal Police station house officer Haroon Korai had told Dawn that the family had submitted a missing persons application, but an FIR is yet to be registered.
Syed is credited with obtaining the surveillance cameras’ footage of a Karachi hotel showing the arrest of PLM-N vice-president Captain (retd) Safdar Awan on 19 October.
The footage showed a 46-minute operation to arrest Awan hours after he criticised Prime Minister Imran Khan and his PTI government at an opposition alliance rally.
Awan is married to Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of former PM Nawaz Sharif.
Second journalist to go missing since July
In July this year, Matiullah Jan, a prominent Pakistani journalist, was abducted in Islamabad but freed after 12 hours following demands for his release.
The incidents come at a time Pakistan is seeing a major crisis, with the police in the Sindh province reportedly putting up a determined fight against the all-powerful military for “abducting” its chief, Inspector General Mushtaq Mahar, and forcing him to sign the arrest warrant of Captain Awan.
Pakistan Army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa had to step in and order an inquiry to prevent the Sindh police from going on mass protest leave.
Sindh government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab said Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah had taken notice of Syed’s disappearance and spoke to the inspector general. Wahab added that the matter is being investigated.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party, called the disappearance an attack on freedom of expression.
In Lahore, Maryam Nawaz reportedly told journalists: “I have heard that he has been picked up for allegedly sharing CCTV footage of [retired Captain Safdar’s arrest]. This is unfortunate.”
Information minister Shibli Faraz said he hoped Syed would be reunited with his family and friends very soon.
I sincerely hope & pray Ali Ìmrañ Syed reunites with his family & friends very soon.
— Senator Shibli Faraz (@shiblifaraz) October 24, 2020
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