Former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Sunday expressed concerns over the disappearance of prominent journalists Sami Ibrahim and Imran Riaz Khan, demanding transparency regarding their whereabouts.
Both senior journalists have gone missing since an aggressive crackdown by the state on the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) leadership, workers and supporters started after the May 9 riots and protests following the PTI chief’s arrest.
Sami Ibrahim went missing from the federal capital on Thursday, whereas the whereabouts of Imran Riaz Khan are also still unknown.
According to a statement issued by the Islamabad police, efforts are being made for the search and recovery of Ibrahim, but it would be premature to draw conclusions yet.
The statement added that the police would cooperate with the senior journalist’s family.
Anchorperson Imran Riaz Khan, who is a staunch and vocal supporter of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and his policies, was arrested by the police on May 11 from Sialkot Airport.
The journalist was reportedly arrested for allegedly inciting violence during clashes between security forces and PTI supporters.
On May 12, the LHC ordered the IG prisons to present the journalist in court on the same day. The IG, however, told the court that the jail authorities had already released Khan.
“The nation demands to know the whereabouts of journalists Sami Ibrahim and Imran Riaz Khan,” Imran Khan wrote on his official Twitter handle. “Why is the journalistic community so overawed and scared to demand for both to be produced in the court of law within 48 hours, as it is their fundamental right. Otherwise it should then be called an abduction.”
The former prime minister said that these terror tactics are just an attempt to muzzle the media, so that this unprecedented fascist crackdown on the largest political party is only to be kept out of any media coverage.
Media personnel are often among the first to come under the line of fire amid political crackdowns in Pakistan, with the country facing severe criticism from global press freedom and human rights groups for violating the rights of free speech and failing to ensure journalist safety. The country ranked 150/180 on Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 2023 Press Freedom Index.