Missing journo returns home after four months

Sialkot police confirm the news

Our Correspondent September 25, 2023
Anchorperson Imran Riaz Khan with his lawyer Mian Ashfaq. PHOTO: Mian Ashfaq



Senior journalist Imran Riaz Khan on Monday morning returned home "safely" after he had gone missing for more than four months.

Sialkot police, in a post on social media platform X confirmed the news, saying: “Journalist/anchor Mr Imran Riaz Khan has been safely recovered. He is now with his family.”

Separately in a post on X, his lawyer Ashfaq said: “By God’s special blessing, grace, and mercy, I have brought back my prince."

Ashfaq added that it "took a lot of time" due to the many difficulties faced, including a "weak judiciary" and the current state of the Constitution compounded by legal helplessness.

Ashfaq, while talking to an international media outlet separately, disclosed that he had a three-hour-long meeting with the journalist at his residence after he was released. He claimed Imran's physical and mental condition was not very stable.

"He is traumatised and has lost a lot of weight in the last four months. He is unable to utter words properly at the moment, even finding it difficult to explain and complete sentences,” Ashfaq said.

The lawyer said that his client would go through necessary medical tests and approach the doctors to get fully recovered.

"I think the whole process (full recovery) could take at least three to four months. Legal matters [against Imran’s detention] will be pursued on his instructions only when he is fully recovered,” the lawyer added.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) also confirmed Imran's return, saying: "He is one of many names suffering from enforced disappearances."

The party also urged the release of all "political prisoners and prisoners of conscience" who are in "illegal incarceration".

Journalist Wajahat Khan said he had spoken to Imran's family, adding that he was "weak and not in the best of health".

During the last hearing of the case in the Lahore High Court (LHC), Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dr Usman Anwar was given one last opportunity to produce the journalist in the court by Sept 26.

The IG replied that a joint working group meeting would be held soon, therefore, he required some more time, adding that the working group had been formed in the light of the LHC order, and a meeting with the intelligence chief was due on that day.

During the previous hearing, IG Anwar told the court that on the direction of the court, he had met with the petitioner and updated as well as his counsel about the developments in this case.

IG Anwar claimed that the matter was “headed in a good direction”. At that time, the petitioner’s counsel had also apprised the court that a major development might take place at any time in the matter.

The anchorperson, a staunch and vocal supporter of ousted PM and PTI Chairman Imran Khan and his policies, was arrested on May 11 reportedly by the police, in the aftermath of the May 9 riots.


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