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Prominent Journalist Sami Ibrahim Reported Missing

Prominent journalist and TV anchorperson Sami Ibrahim has been reported missing in the federal capital, as per recent developments on Thursday.

According to a statement issued by the Islamabad police, efforts are underway to search for and recover Ibrahim, but it is premature to draw any conclusions at this stage.

The statement also mentioned that the police are cooperating with the family of the senior journalist.

Meanwhile, Ibrahim’s brother Ali Raza lodged a complaint at Aabpara Police Station. He stated that four cars near Sixth Avenue, Sector G-6 abducted Ibrahim around 9 pm on Wednesday. This happened after he left his office and was heading home with his driver. The complainant further explained that a group of eight to ten unidentified men forcibly took Ibrahim. They also seized driver’s mobile phones and belonging, along with the car keys.

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These events occur amidst a forceful crackdown by the state on the leadership, workers, and supporters of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) political party.

Media personnel have also faced repercussions from the state for expressing support for the popular political party or for speaking out against violations of civil liberties and judicial rights.

Journalists Imran Riaz Khan and Aftab Iqbal, both were ardent PTI supporters of PTI. They were previously detained earlier this month. While the whereabouts of Imran Riaz Khan are unknown, Aftab Iqbal has reportedly been released.

The disappearance of Ibrahim has sparked condemnation on social media platforms.

Senior journalist Moeed Pirzada questioned the international perception of Pakistan, highlighting the disappearance of prominent journalists. He specifically mentioned the case of Imran Riaz Khan. The police at Sialkot Airport apprehended him for 14 days. The police claim to be unaware of his current location.

Mazhar Abbas Raised Concerns

Mazhar Abbas, another senior journalist, raised concerns about the absence of a journalists’ protection commission, despite a law enacted in 2021 to safeguard journalists’ rights. He expressed distress over the disappearance of journalists Imran Riaz Khan and Sami Ibrahim, mentioning the previous incident involving the late Arshad Sharif.

Journalists in Pakistan often face the brunt of political crackdowns, with the country receiving significant criticism from global press freedom and human rights organizations for infringing upon freedom of speech and failing to ensure the safety of journalists. Pakistan currently ranks 150th out of 180 countries on the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 2023 Press Freedom Index.

This marks the second time that Ibrahim has encountered hostility from “unidentified men.” In July 2022, unknown individuals reportedly attacked him and subjected him to torture outside his office in Islamabad. Ibrahim suffered minor injuries during the assault. He stated that the assailants were driving a vehicle with a “green-colored registration plate” and claimed that they had recorded the incident.

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