Wednesday , September 27 2023

Another Pakistani journalist missing; family alleges abduction


By SJA Jafri + Agencies

ISLAMABAD: A prominent Pakistani television journalist known for his public support of former Prime Minister Imran Khan has been missing for two days, raising fears for his safety.

Sami Abraham’s family and Karachi-based independent BOL television, where he works, said on Thursday that he had been abducted.

Abraham’s disappearance was first announced in a police tweet late on Wednesday, hours after he went missing. In a news announcement the same day, BOL TV said Abraham was taken by unidentified men.

Abraham has long publicly opposed the government of Khan’s successor, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, and is a critic of Pakistan’s powerful military, which has directly ruled the country for nearly half of its 75 years of independence.

Abraham’s brother, Ali Raza, filed a police complaint that said eight people in four vehicles intercepted his brother’s car on his way back home from work in the capital, Islamabad, and took him away. His driver was unharmed.

Abraham’s disappearance came two weeks after another pro-Khan journalist, Imran Riaz Khan, went missing. Pakistani police and intelligence agencies have denied detaining him.

In a statement late on Thursday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said it was “deeply disturbed” by the disappearance of the prominent journalists.

“Authorities must respect the rule of law and either present Abraham and Khan in court or immediately release them,” the media watchdog’s Asia program coordinator, Beh Lih Yi, said.

Pakistan’s media community and independent journalists have also demanded accountability for those behind the killing of Arshad Sharif, a prominent Pakistani TV anchor who was shot to death in Kenya in October.

The 49-year-old journalist was living in exile after he fled the country to avoid arrest in the wake of multiple cases, including sedition charges related to comments he made on his show considered offensive to the military.

Police reportedly opened fire on his vehicle in Nairobi. Kenyan authorities said they regretted the killing, calling it “a case of mistaken identity”.

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