ISLAMABAD: Senior journalist and TV anchorperson Sami Ibrahim has gone missing from the federal capital, it emerged on Thursday.
According to a statement issued by the Islamabad police, efforts are being made for search and recovery of Ibrahim but it would be premature to draw any conclusion yet.
The statement added that the police would cooperate with the senior journalist’s family.
Meanwhile, in a complaint lodged at Aabpara Police Station by Ibrahim’s brother Ali Raza, the senior journalist was intercepted by four cars near Sixth Avenue, Sector G-6, at around 9pm on Wednesday night after he left his office to head home with his driver.
According to the complainant, Ibrahim was forcibly taken by eight to 10 unidentified men, who also took three mobile phones belonging to the driver and the car keys.
The news comes amid an aggressive crackdown by the state on the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) leadership, workers and supporters.
Media personnel have also come under the ire of the state for speaking in support of the popular political party and/or against violations of civil liberties and judicial rights.
Journalist Imran Riaz Khan has been ‘missing’ and his whereabouts remain undisclosed to date, despite clear instructions from the LHC chief justice.
Ibrahim’s disappearance has also brought condemnation on social media.
“What should the world think of Pakistan where prominent journalists can just disappear like this? Imran Riaz is still missing after 14 days; he was picked up by police from Sialkot Airport but now police say they don’t know where he is,” wrote senior journalist Moeed Pirzada on Twitter.
Another senior journalist Mazhar Abbas questioned why a journalists protection commission has not been formed yet despite a law safeguarding journalists’ rights being enacted in 2021.
“We lost Arshad Sharif last year, now journalists Imran Riaz Khan and Sami Ibrahim disappeared. God knows where they are,” he tweeted.
Media personnel are often among the first to come under the line of fire amid political crackdowns in Pakistan, with the country facing severe criticism from global press freedom and human rights groups for violating the rights of free speech and failing to ensure journalist safety. The country ranked 150/180 on Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 2023 Press Freedom Index.
This is the second time Ibrahim has come under the ire of “unidentified men”. In July 2022, he was reportedly attacked and tortured by unidentified men outside his office in Islamabad.
The anchorperson, who sustained minor injuries in the attack, had told the media that the alleged attackers were driving a vehicle having a “green-coloured registration plate”. He also claimed that the ‘assaulters’ had also filmed the incident.