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Reporters Without Borders Claim Missing Journalist Imran was tortured and “May Even Have Died in Detention”

Reporters Without Borders’s Daniel Bastard said in a statement that the organization had learned from “confidential diplomatic sources” that the missing journalist had been subjected to torture and “may even have died in detention.”

The status and whereabouts of a well-known television anchor who was detained about two weeks ago have been kept a secret, according to media freedom advocacy groups and journalists in Pakistan.

Imran Riaz Khan attempted to flee the nation out of fear of being arrested on May 11 from the airport in Sialkot, an industrial city in the Punjab region but was apprehended, according to family members and attorneys. However, according to authorities, they are no longer in possession of the reporter. 

The 47-year-old journalist was one of thousands of people arrested earlier this month following a statewide campaign against members of the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party and its leader, well-liked former Prime Minister Imran Khan. The unconnected journalist who vanished was well-known for conducting pro-Khan chat shows on the mainstream BOL television network and for having more than 4 million YouTube subscribers, but he was not related to the well-liked PTI leader. The journalist was supposed to be brought before a court in Lahore, the province capital, on Monday in response to a complaint that his father had made the previous week. The television anchor, however, had vanished, the police chief informed the judge.

“Police all over Pakistan have been questioned,” During the court proceeding, Punjab police head Usman Anwar stated that Imran Riaz was not in the possession of anyone. Agency requests for a police van were made, nevertheless. The country’s military intelligence services can be called in before the court to be questioned about why they had requested a police van, Anwar added.

According to the judge’s decision in response to the police chief’s declaration, “it is clear from the information that the police were unable to determine the fate and whereabouts of the missing citizen of the country.” Reconvening on Thursday is the court. The head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk, Bastard, requested Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to free the missing reporter immediately and warned that Pakistan’s government would be held “directly responsible” for any harm that could have befallen him.

Amnesty International stated in a separate statement that the journalist’s case “constitutes an enforced disappearance under international human rights law.” It called for the immediate release of Imran Riaz Khan. The watchdog bemoaned that forced disappearances have been a “worrying trend” in Pakistan for many years and are used to silence “dissenting voices.”

The journalist went missing after being vocal in support of Khan, who had been expelled from office, after previously being viewed as a close supporter of the military. Many journalists from Pakistan who broadcast shows in support of the former prime minister have left the country.


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