Friday Oct 30, 2020
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) and Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) have rejected an investigation team announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan formed to investigate the abduction of Karachi-based Geo News journalist Ali Imran Syed, and have instead demanded a judicial commission to probe the kidnapping.
The organisations say that the team formed by PM Imran consists of personnel linked with state agencies and who are allegedly culpable in similar past activities.
In a joint statement, secretary-general of HRCP Harris Khalique, Vice Chairman of PBC Abid Saqi and PFUJ President Shahzada Zulfiqar and secretary general Nasir Zaidi said that the situation warranted an "independent and transparent investigation into the apparent enforced disappearance" of the journalist. They also called for the formation of a judicial commission headed by a Supreme Court judge to investigate the matter.
“Last month, the FIA — which has been tasked with investigating the abduction of Syed — registered fabricated cases against 49 journalists, some of whom have been summoned to probe baseless cases against the journalist community. How can such an authority ensure a fair and transparent inquiry?” asked the organisations in the statement.
They demanded the immediate constitution of a judicial commission and urged PM Imran to refer the case to the Supreme Court, given the rise in threats to journalists.
The HRCP, PBC and PFUJ said that they would continue to support the cause of human rights, press freedom, and freedom of expression, which have been constricted under the current government.
Last week, senior Geo News reporter Ali Imran Syed returned to his mother's home in Karachi after remaining missing for more than 22 hours.
After reaching his mother's home in the city, he reportedly established contact with his wife over the phone. He has returned safely and has not been physically harmed, he reportedly told her.
The journalist went missing on Friday evening after he had reportedly gone to a nearby bakery but did not return home.
He left home between 7pm-8pm and told the family that he would come back in half an hour but did not return despite the passage of many hours.
His car was parked outside the house and his mobile phone was also at home, his wife had said at the time.
Police authorities were informed about Imran's disappearance and had registered a case.