Nafees Naeem — an assignment editor at the Aaj News television channel who went missing from near his residence in Karachi on Monday after he was reportedly picked up by plainclothesmen — has “returned home safely, within 24 hours after abduction”, a report by the media outlet said.
The report added that the Aaj News team received the news of Naeem’s return by 5 am on Tuesday.
Earlier, the television channel’s director news, Kamal Siddiqi, also shared the development on Twitter.
“Aaj senior assignment editor Nafees Naim has safely returned home. Thank you to all colleagues, well-wishers and media organisations who helped make this happen #BringBackNafeesNaeem,” Siddiqi tweeted.
Naeem went missing from near his home in Nazimabad on Monday afternoon and is believed to have been abducted by “unidentified persons” travelling in a Vigo, according to police, the Aaj News administration and media organisations.
West-Zone DIG Nasir Aftab said that according to the family, Naeem had left his home to purchase groceries when unidentified people took him away.
He said when they received information about the incident, police immediately contacted the family and the Nazimabad SHO also visited the family home.
Police also obtained CCTV footage from the spot and the DIG said video footage showed men in plainclothes traveling in a 4×4 Vigo apparently took away Naeem.
DIG Aftab said he had personally spoken to the journalist’s wife who informed him that her husband had left home at around 3.50pm for a nearby market before he was taken away.
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.
Meanwhile, the Aaj News administration said in a statement that their assignment editor was taken away by men in plain clothes from outside his home in a police mobile.
It condemned the alleged abduction of their employee. “Suppose, if Nafees had committed any illegal act, legal procedure should be adopted,” it said.
“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.
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.
Later, the interior minister took notice of the journalist’s disappearance and issued a statement saying that he had spoken to Sindh Inspector General Ghulam Nabi Memon and directed him to ensure Naeem’s swift recovery. He also assured the provincial police chief of complete cooperation from the federal authorities in this regard.
In separate statements, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors, Karachi Union of Journalists and Karachi Press Club condemned the alleged kidnapping of the journalist.
BALOCH STUDENTS: Doda Ellahi and Ghamshad Baloch — students of Karachi University’s Philosophy Department allegedly taken away from their house in the city on June 7 — have returned home, Nasarullah Baloch, chairman of non-profit organisation Voice of Balochistan Missing Persons said on Tuesday.
In a brief confirmation, the activist told Dawn that the students returned to their home near Maskan Chowrangi in Gulshan-i-Iqbal after 3am. “They both belong to the Kech district of Balochistan,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Shayhaq Ellahi and HudaHair Ellahi, siblings of Doda, had tweeted that their brother and his friend had been “safely released”. Shayhaq also posted photographs of the pair.
Both of them went on to thank God and all the people who stood with the family during the difficult time.
The development comes a day after relatives, activists and friends of the two students were forcefully dispersed by police, and 28 of them were briefly arrested from outside the main gate of the Sindh Assembly in Karachi.
They were there to protest against the pair’s “arrests”. The demonstrators had camped out outside the Karachi Press Club (KPC) for the last four days.
The police action was widely condemned, as footage emerged of police personnel dragging peaceful protesters and stuffing them in police vans.
South SSP Asad Raza said that the police detained 19 men and nine women as they tried to enter the assembly building. The officer denied that protesters were treated roughly. He added that woman police officers had detained female protesters.
The demonstrators were later released.
The protest organisers had accused the police of manhandling women and children. They said the Sindh police had broken their promise of arranging a meeting of the missing students’ relatives with Counter Terrorism Department officials on Monday. Therefore, they said, they again staged a sit-in near the Sindh Assembly building where the police manhandled and arrested protesters.
Earlier, around 120-130 relatives and members of different organisations, including activists Seemi Din Baloch, Abdul Wahab Baloch, Aamna Baloch, Naghma Sheikh and others, had marched from the KPC towards the assembly building where the budget session was ongoing. Passing through Sarwar Shaheed Road, they had staged a sit-in at the assembly’s gate.