Pak journalist freed
after overnight detention,
was taken in police
van from near home


KARACHI: A Pakistani TV journalist apparently taken by force by plainclothes police in the southern port city of Karachi was released and returned home before dawn Tuesday, his TV station and colleagues said.
Nafees Naeem, whose forced disappearance drew condemnation from Pakistan’s journalists’ union and his colleagues, did not comment on his overnight detention. There was no official statement from the police and no confirmation as to who had taken Naeem.
He was freed after Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah late Monday said he had ordered authorities to trace and recover Naeem. His colleagues had called on the government to take action against those responsible for Naeem’s disappearance.
The Aaj News television, where Naeem is an assignment editor, said that several men in plainclothes took him into custody at a market near his home on Monday, threw him in a police vehicle and sped away.
“If any person has acted against the law, legal action should be taken against them,” the TV station said.
Naeem’s location after the arrest was unclear.
Although Pakistan’s government insists it supports freedom of speech, human rights groups often accuse Pakistan’s civil and military-backed security agencies and police of harassing and attacking journalists.

Pak journalist Nafees Naeem

Nafees Naeem — an assignment editor at the Aaj News television channel who went missing from near his residence in Karachi on Monday after he was reportedly picked up by men in plain clothes — has “returned home safely, within 24 hours of being abducted”, a report by the media outlet said.

The report added that the Aaj News team received the news of Naeem’s return by 5am on Tuesday.

Earlier, the television channel’s director news, Kamal Siddiqi, also shared the development on Twitter.

“Aaj senior assignment editor Nafees Naim has safely returned home. Thank you to all colleagues, well-wishers and media organisations who helped make this happen #BringBackNafeesNaeem,” Siddiqi tweeted.

Nafees Naeem’s disappearance

Naeem went missing from near his home in Nazimabad on Monday afternoon and is believed to have been abducted by unidentified persons travelling in a Vigo, according to police, the Aaj News’ administration and media organisations.

West-Zone DIG Nasir Aftab told Dawn that as per the family’s statement, Naeem had left his home to purchase groceries when unknown persons took him away.

The senior officer said when they received information about the incident, police immediately contacted the family and the Nazimabad SHO also visited the family home.

Police also obtained CCTV footage from the spot and the DIG said video footage showed men in plainclothes traveling in a 4×4 Vigo apparently took away Naeem. DIG Aftab said he had personally spoken to the journalist’s wife who informed him that her husband had left home at around 3.50pm to purchase chicken from a nearby poultry shop before he was taken away.

The DIG said police have asked the family to lodge an FIR. DIG Aftab, however, said the journalist was not detained by the police, adding that no police station in West Zone was holding Naeem.

Meanwhile, the Aaj News administration said in a statement that their assignment editor was taken away by men in plain clothes from outside his home in a police mobile.

It condemned the alleged abduction’ of their employee. “Suppose, if Nafees Naeem had committed any illegal action, legal procedure should be adopted,” it said.

“No institution can be given the right to take away any citizen without any charge, FIR or complaint,” said the Aaj administration. Such action by any institution was a matter of shame for the government, it added.

The Aaj administration urged Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to take notice of the incident and ensure Naeem’s immediate recovery.

Later, the interior minister took notice of the journalist’s disappearance and issued a statement saying that he had spoken to Sindh Inspector General Ghulam Nabi Memon and directed him to ensure Naeem’s swift recovery. He also assured the provincial police chief of complete cooperation from the federal authorities in this regard.

In separate statements, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors, Karachi Union of Journalists and Karachi Press Club condemned the alleged kidnapping of the journalist.