ISLAMABAD: Prominent Pakistani lawyer and rights activist Jibran Nasir was “picked up” by over a dozen unidentified persons in Karachi on Thursday night, his wife and actress Mansha Pasha said.
Nasir frequently criticizes Pakistan’s leading political parties, the religious right wing, and the country’s powerful military. He contested the 2013 and 2018 general elections as an independent candidate but managed to secure a few hundred votes each time.
Nasir has been increasingly critical of the Pakistani military on social media ever since it announced trying supporters of former prime minister Imran Khan under military laws for attacking its installations and torching government buildings on May 9.
“Approximately half an hour ago, my husband Jibran Nasir who is a very famous lawyer and who has done a lot for Pakistan— I don’t have to say it, you know it already— he has been picked up by some men,” Pasha said in a video message.
“We were on our way home after having dinner when a large white Vigo car intercepted our car, almost crashing into it, and around 15 men with pistols forcibly took my husband away,” she added.
“I would want you all to raise your voices and pray that my husband returns soon.”
Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party demanded Nasir’s release, saying that his abduction is against the country’s constitution.
“Law of the jungle must not prevail in Pakistan,” the PTI wrote on Twitter.
Feminist rights movement Aurat March also demanded Nasir’s release, condemning his alleged abduction.
“We strongly condemn his abduction (which is a clear violation of citizen rights) & urge the govt & LEAs to ensure his immediate + unconditional safe release,” it wrote on Twitter.
Rights groups have raised alarm over the crackdown against PTI leaders and supporters, which has resulted in several of Khan’s aides leaving the party and distancing themselves from him since May 9.
Meanwhile, the government has denied reports it is illegally abducting dissenters and has repeatedly said only those who partook in violence and vandalism on May 9 would be dealt with according to law.
The continuing political turmoil has exacerbated Pakistan’s economic crisis with inflation at record highs, with fears of default looming large as the South Asian country so far fails to revive a stalled $6.5 billion loan program with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).