One of the many things that go wrong in Pakistan is that no one does anything about the forced disappearances of journalists. This probably has been happening for as long as Pakistan has existed and definitely happens to more people than is reported. Recently Nafees Naeem, an assignment editor at the Aaj News television channel went missing from near his residence in Karachi. He was reportedly seen being picked up by men in plain clothes. Thankfully he was returned to his home after 24 hours.
According to Naeem’s wife, her husband left his home around 4 pm to go get groceries. The police were informed by locals of the incident and they quickly informed his family and accessed CCTV footage of the surrounding area. Video footage showed men in plainclothes traveling in a 4×4 Vigo apparently took away Naeem. These men in “plain clothes” have been spotted all over the country, picking up protestors, students and journalists. The DIG said police have asked the family to lodge an FIR. DIG Aftab, however, said the journalist was not detained by the police, adding that no police station in West Zone was holding Naeem. This tells us that these people were definitely not police.
Even if there are any allegations that Nafees Naeem was involved in illegal activities, he should be arrested and put through the proper legal procedure.
“No institution can be given the right to take away any citizen without any charge, FIR or complaint,” said the Aaj administration. Such action by any institution was a matter of shame for the government, it added.
On the day of the kidnapping, Naeem’s employers, the Aaj administration urged Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to take notice of the incident and ensure Naeem’s immediate recovery. Thankfully they managed to help recover Naeem quickly. He was safely returned to his home after 24 hours.
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ) and Karachi Press Club condemned the ‘kidnapping’ of the journalist. “Despite the regime change in Islamabad, adverse action against journalists continues,” said KUJ president Shahid Iqbal and secretary Fahim Siddiqi. The organizations said that the repeated kidnappings, killings, enforced disappearances and harassment of journalists in Pakistan were a matter of concern and shame.