KARACHI: A Pakistani journalist, who was allegedly picked up in the middle of the night by law enforcement officials this week, has safely returned home, confirmed his family while speaking to Arab News on Wednesday.
Zubair Anjum, who works with Pakistan’s Geo News TV, was taken away from his Model Colony residence by uniformed personnel in police vans in the early hours of Tuesday, said his relatives. Reacting to the incident, journalist bodies in the country described it as an “abduction” and staged a protest in front of the Karachi Press Club.
“Zubair Anjum safely returned home at 2am last night, almost 24 hours after being picked up,” his brother, Wajahat Anjum, told Arab News, thanking the media community for raising their voice against the disappearance.
“He sounded well upon his arrival and is now resting,” he added without disclosing further details.
Addressing the protest demonstration at the press club, the Secretary-General of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), Alauddin Khanzada, said Anjum was taken away because his criticism was not well received by the powerful circles in the country.
“The way Zubair Anjum was picked up can only be described as an abduction since those who took him away neither disclosed their identity nor provided any reason for the arrest,” he added.
Prior to the protests, Anjum’s family told the media that a police contingent forced their way into the house and “manhandled” them before confiscating a digital video recorder (DVR) of a CCTV camera installed in the neighborhood.
“The police did not give any reason for the arrest,” his brother was quoted as saying by the local media. “They did not even let him wear his slippers. We repeatedly asked what the matter was.”
Speaking to Geo News, Faisal Bashir Memon, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) in the Qur’angi district, said his department had no information about Anjum’s arrest.
“Police from stations in the Qur’angi district have not arrested Anjum,” he told the broadcaster. “We are investigating the incident.”
The journalist’s disappearance took place only days after a prominent Pakistani human rights activist, Jibran Nasir, was “picked up” by about 15 men dressed in plain clothes, according to his wife. Nasir returned a day later, confirmed his cousin to Arab News, without providing further information.
As a rights activist, Nasir raised alarm over a crackdown against former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s political party following violent protests that occurred after Khan’s arrest on May 9.
The government denies reports of illegally abducting dissenters, maintaining that only those who engaged in violence and vandalism are being dealt with under the law.