SC notes with concern abduction of Matiullah Jan, asks police to submit report

The senior journalist was abducted from the capital in broad daylight yesterday

Matiullah Jan was abducted from Islamabad's G-6 Sector on Tuesday afternoon and returned home 12 hours later. — Photo courtesy Matiullah Jan's Facebook

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) police to submit a report on the abduction and release of senior journalist Matiullah Jan from the Capital’s G-6 Sector.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed and comprising Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel heard the contempt proceedings today against the journalist over his alleged derogatory tweet against the court and its judges.

The senior journalist was abducted from the capital in broad daylight yesterday, however returning safely to his residence nearly 12 hours later.

During the course of the proceedings, the court sought details regarding the abduction of Jan from the capital.

CJP Ahmed asked the attorney general why the police had not recorded the statement of the journalist till now.

”What are the state institutions doing?” the chief justice asked.

Justice Ahmed underscored that the government must take action on the matter and proceed in accordance with the law.

The court directed the Islamabad Police to record the abducted journalist’s statement and submit a challan before the relevant court.

Advocate Latif Khosa, representing the Pakistan Bar Council and the Supreme Court Bar Association, expressed concern over the abduction and said that the journalist was picked up in broad daylight. "Is this a banana republic?" he remarked.

He demanded that the kidnappers be identified from the CCTV footage available with the police.

Senior journalist Afzal Butt said that the matter must not be buried to which Justice Ahmed said that the case would not be closed.

The attorney general assured the court that immediate proceedings had been initiated in the matter.

"The government has ordered a high-level inquiry into the matter," he said, adding: "It has ordered that whoever is responsible will not be spared."

”No agency or institution has the right to take matters into its own hands,” the chief justice responded by saying.

With regard to the contempt of court proceedings, Jan sought time to file his written reply.

”I am sure that the court will conduct a fair trial,” he said, adding that his abduction was related to the case.

”The way I have been threatened, it links to the case,” the journalist said, to which the chief justice replied that the court will ensure a fair trial.

Justice Ahmed asked Jan to submit whatever he had said in writing, also cautioning him to choose his words carefully. "You will not be subjected to any bias," the chief justice added.

The bench granted the senior journalist two weeks to hire a legal counsel and submit his reply.

The hearing of the case was adjourned for two weeks.