KARACHI : The whereabouts of a journalist associated with a national daily are unknown after he was allegedly picked up by “plainclothes security personnel” in the early hours of Sunday.
According to his family, Abdullah Zafar, a staff reporter at The Nation, was taken away in an overnight raid at their house in Lawyers Society, Scheme 33 of Karachi’s Sacchal area.
“Over a dozen personnel in plainclothes – most of them clad in shalwar kameez with faces covered – arrived at my home at late night,” said Zafarullah, the father of the detained journalist.
He said the security personnel had arrived in three vehicles accompanied by two police vans and they had his younger brother with them too. He added that police and Rangers personnel were also accompanying the plainclothes personnel.
“They first raided our old house in Shah Faisal Colony from where we have recently shifted and took my brother along with them, and then raided my house,” said Zafarullah. “After entering our home, they went to my son’s room and after a two-minute talk with him, they took him away.”
He added that as the men were leaving they also tried to take him and his other son with them too but later left them behind at the main door.
“They just told me that my son was involved in the forgery of a Rs50 million cheque,” Zafarullah said, “A Rs50 million cheque bounce case? That’s a joke to us.”
The missing journalist’s family also accused police of not cooperating with them.
“I visited Sacchal police station multiple times but they did not register my complaint,” said Zafarullah. “The police just took my application on my third visit and even then they did not give me a receiving copy of the application.”
However, when contacted, the law-enforcement agencies including police and Rangers denied their involvement in Abdullah’s disappearance.
“I have checked and he is not with the police,” Sindh IGP Allah Dino Khowaja told The Express Tribune.
Similarly, a senior Rangers official said the paramilitary force did not have a role in Abdullah’s detention.
“We have checked. Our troops did not detain or arrest him,” he claimed.
Meanwhile, journalists’ bodies have demanded the reporter’s safe return to his family.
“We condemn Abdullah’s illegal detention and we demand his immediate release,” said Fahim Siddiqui, the general secretary of the Karachi Union of Journalists. “This is not the way to deal with a journalist. Law enforcers should have approached the journalists’ union first if he (Abdullah) was involved in any wrongdoing.”
Siddiqui urged the prime minister and the Sindh chief minister to take notice of the matter and ensure Abdullah’s safe recovery.
The home minister, taking notice of the case, has ordered an inquiry into the matter.