KARACHI: By 5am, the Aaj News team received news that Aaj News assignment editor Nafees Naeem had returned home safely, within 24 hours of being abducted from Karachi in broad daylight.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah had taken notice of Naeem’s abduction and sought a report from Sindh IG Ghulam Nabi Memon.
He asked the IG to use all available resources to locate the missing journalist while promising all possible technical assistance.
Nafees’s elder brother had filed an FIR at the Gulberg Police Station.
Naeem, who has spent over a decade at Aaj News, went missing on Monday after men in plainclothes ‘picked him up’ in broad daylight while he was buying groceries near his house in Nazimabad.
Witnesses informed Naeem’s family that he was forcibly put into the back of a white-coloured Vigo (a four-wheel-drive truck) by men in plainclothes.
CCTV footage shows a vehicle stopping as Naeem was passing by. Two men in plainclothes step out of the vehicle while another rushes in and bundles Naeem into the backseat of the vehicle.
A police vehicle was following the Vigo, witnesses said while the CCTV recording confirmed the witness’s version.
According to Naeem’s wife, he left the house a little before 4pm to get groceries and didn’t return.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police West-Zone Nasir Aftab confirmed to Aaj News that the journalist was not detained at any police station in his jurisdiction.
Journalists, rights bodies condemn ‘disappearance’, demand release
The management of Aaj News has strongly condemned the disappearance of their senior assignment editor.
“If any person has acted against the law, legal action should be taken against them,” it said in a statement. It said that everyone has the right to defend themselves in a court of law. “It is not acceptable to take a person into custody using illegal means. No agency can be given the right to take a citizen into custody without any charge, FIR or complaint.”
The management has demanded of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to take notice of the incident and said that the government should ensure the immediate recovery of Nafees Naeem.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan condemned the incident while demanding Naeem’s immediate release. “Journalists must not be threatened or harmed for discharging their duties, and the perpetrators must be held accountable,” they tweeted.
The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) also strongly condemned the ‘abduction’ of the Karachi-based journalist.
PFUJ President Shahzada Zulfiqar and Secretary-General Nasir Zaidi, while condemning the incident, demanded Naeem’s immediate release along with the arrest of those involved in his disappearance.
PFUJ leadership urged the Sindh government and police to take urgent measures for the safe release of Nafees and make all-out efforts for the safety security of journalists and media workers. “Otherwise, a protest will be launched against such disappearances.”
Raising questions about the disappearance, journalist Asma Shirazi asked who was behind the kidnapping and for what reason? “Who should we ask?”
She urged the investigating authorities - including police and intelligence officials - to investigate the incident.
“Nafis is a very sophisticated person and a professional journalist. It is incomprehensible to pick up a harmless journalist like him,” she tweeted with the hashtag #ReleaseNafeesNaeem.
Journalist Matiullah Jan, who was ‘picked up’ last year, urged the journalistic fraternity to approach the Sindh High Court on immediate basis to save the life of the abducted journalist. Matiullah was released 12 hours after being abducted from Islamabad as the incident was captured on CCTV and resulted in pressure for his release.
Journalist Munizae Jahangir, who hosts a current affairs show on the same channel, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and Karachi Administrator Murtaza Wahab to take action over the disappearance.