Monday, July 10, 2023
KARACHI: Syed Muhammad Askari, a senior reporter of Daily Jang, who had gone missing late Saturday night, returned home after more than 24 hours, Geo News reported Monday.
Askari went missing in Karachi after he was picked up, allegedly by police and personnel in plain clothes.
The journalist’s wife had filed an application at the Baloch Colony Police Station, accusing police and personnel in plainclothes of “abducting” her husband for unknown reasons.
In her application, Shazia Askari stated that the personnel in police uniforms and plainclothes abducted her husband from a spot near the Qayyumabad Interchange when he and a friend were returning from an event.
She further stated that the personnel had their faces covered and were in a police mobile and a white vehicle, adding that they whisked away her husband without giving a reason at around 1:15am on Sunday.
She requested his immediate release.
Meanwhile, journalist bodies expressed profound concern over Askari's disappearance.
In a condemnation statement, Crime Reporters Association President Kashif Hashmi, General Secretary Rehan Chishti and members of the Executive Council have strongly condemned the abduction of the senior reporter.
Hashmi and Chishti said in a joint statement that unknown masked persons took the senior journalist with them, which was a reprehensible act.
The provincial government should take this matter seriously and take steps for the early return of Askari, they said.
They added that the journalist community reserves the right to protest.
Similarly, an emergency meeting of the executive committee of the Sindh Journalists and Other Media Practitioners Commission was held under the chairmanship of Justice (retd) Rasheed A Razvi.
At the request of the union of journalists, a one-point agenda was called in the meeting by the member of the commission, Karachi Union of Journalists President Fahim Siddiqui, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) Professor Dr Tauseef Ahmad Khan and Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) Dr Jabbar Khattak.
The meeting expressed anger and concern over the frequent kidnapping of journalists.
Rasheed A Razvi said that since Syed Askari was not wanted in any case, it was clearly an incident of kidnapping, and it is the responsibility of the state to protect the life, property and liberty of its citizens.
In the meeting, it was said that the abduction and disappearance of Askari is also a serious violation of Articles 9 and 10 of the Constitution.
The commission chairman asked the Sindh home secretary and inspector general of police to recover the missing journalist within 24 hours. He directed that a report regarding the incident be submitted to the commission within 36 hours.
In a separate statement, the HRCP said all democratic voices must condemn Askari's abduction.
The HRCP said, “That journalists continue to be abducted in this manner, without charge, calls into question not only the state’s commitment to democracy but also its capacity to brook criticism and opposition.
"Askari must be released.”