Stockholm: Two months after he went missing, the body of a Pakistani journalist, who had fled his nation, was found dead in a river in Sweden, media reports said.
Sajid Hussain was the editor of online magazine Balochistan Times.
He fled from Pakistan in 2012 after getting death threats.
He was granted political asylum in Sweden.
A press freedom charity had suggested Pakistani intelligence was behind Hussain’s disappearance in early March, reports BBC.
He was last seen boarding a train to Uppsala, a city 35 miles (56km) north of Stockholm, reported The Guardian.
His body was found on 23 April in the Fyris river outside Uppsala,” Jonas Eronen, a police spokesman, told the newspaper.
He was staying in Stockholm with a friend named Abdul Malik, media reports said.
His wife, Shahnaz Baloch, told The Guardian she had spoken to Hussain over the phone that morning and he had been in good spirits, discussing his plans to move to a new apartment in Uppsala.
“We just want police to investigate the cause of death and give an answer to his family and friends,” said Malik. “We want to know what happened.”
As a journalist, he was compassionate and wrote extensively on the suffering of the Baloch people. His work often got him into trouble as the authorities did not like his reporting of Balochistan’s forbidden stories, the reason he had to leave and live in exile, reported Baochistan Times.
Reacting to his death, the newspaper team said: “We at Balochistan Times are deeply saddened by the demise of our dear friend and the founder of this magazine. We would like to extend our most sincere condolences to his family. Also, we express gratitude to his former colleagues, friends, journalists and rights organisations for speaking up for him after his disappearance. Sajid will forever remain in our thoughts.”
Erik Halkjaer, head of the Swedish branch of Reporters without Borders (RSF), tweeted, “The family of the disappeared Pakistani journalist Sajid Hussain confirms the police in Uppsala have found his body. The police has not yet confirmed officially. https://balochistantimes.com/sajid-hussains-disappearance-family-says-too-early-to-accuse-anyone/… I send my deepest condolences to Sajids family. My thoughts are with [email protected]_RUG.”
Mama Qadeer Baloch, a Baloch human rights activist said: “It is a sad news for us, renowned Journalist Sajid Hussain, the chief editor of
@BaluchistanTime is no more among us. His dead body was discovered from a river in Uppsala, Sweden. The unfortunate death of Sajid left a vacuum in Baloch Society which will take years to be filled.”
The journalist had previously worked with The News and Daily Times in Karachi in various positions.
Pakistan is considered a dangerous place for journalists.
The south Asian nation ranked 142nd out of 180 countries in the 2019 RSF Press Freedom Index.