Home Media Journalists Sami Abraham and Imran Riaz Khan Reportedly Abducted: CPJ Urges Immediate Action

Journalists Sami Abraham and Imran Riaz Khan Reportedly Abducted: CPJ Urges Immediate Action

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Journalists Sami Abraham and Imran Riaz Khan Reportedly Abducted: CPJ Urges Immediate Action

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has issued a urgent plea for Pakistani authorities to disclose the whereabouts of journalists Sami Abraham and Imran Riaz Khan, who are reportedly missing amidst an escalating crackdown on the press amid the country’s ongoing political unrest.

Abduction of Sami Abraham

Sami Abraham, the president and anchor of BOL News, was reportedly detained by a group of eight to ten men, some in uniforms, at approximately 9 p.m. on Wednesday, May 24. The incident occurred while Abraham was returning home from the offices of the privately owned broadcaster in Islamabad. As of the evening of Thursday, May 25, Abraham’s whereabouts remain unknown, according to his lawyer, Raja Amir Abbas.

Imran Riaz Khan’s Disappearance

Imran Riaz Khan, an anchor for BOL News, has been missing since May 11, when he was allegedly arrested at Sialkot airport in Punjab. His lawyer, Azhar Siddique, informed CPJ that Khan has yet to be presented in court, with authorities failing to do so for the fourth time on Thursday, May 25. Despite assertions from a senior Lahore police official that Khan is not in the custody of intelligence agencies, Khan’s whereabouts remain undisclosed.

CPJ’s Concerns

Beh Lih Yi, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator, expressed deep concern over the disappearances of Abraham and Khan amidst a broader crackdown on media in Pakistan. The CPJ urges authorities to adhere to the rule of law and either present the missing journalists in court or release them immediately.

Political Context

The disappearances of Abraham and Khan come in the wake of the May 9 arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who also chairs the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party. This arrest sparked nationwide protests, leading to heightened tensions and increased scrutiny of journalists associated with the PTI.

Abraham and Khan, known for hosting PTI supporters on their talk shows and advocating for the party through their YouTube channels, are believed by some anonymous Pakistani journalists to have been targeted as part of a broader crackdown on the PTI.

Legal Action and Police Response

Abbas, representing Abraham, has filed a petition at the Islamabad High Court demanding authorities present Abraham in court and disclose the grounds for his detention. Meanwhile, police in Islamabad have issued a statement on Twitter vowing to swiftly search for Abraham and cooperate fully with his family.

Usman Anwar, inspector-general of the Punjab provincial police, assured CPJ that all agencies are actively investigating Khan’s disappearance and exploring all possible leads. However, he noted the challenges in locating a missing person who may be evading detection.

CPJ’s attempts to contact Islamabad Police Inspector-General Akbar Nasir Khan and Information Minister Maryam Aurangzeb went unanswered, highlighting the need for greater transparency and accountability in addressing these grave concerns.

As fears mount over the safety and freedom of journalists in Pakistan, CPJ continues to monitor the situation closely, advocating for the protection of press freedom and the safety of media professionals in the country.

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