News

August 20, 2019

Missing for three days, Pakistani journalist found in police custody

Pakistani paramilitary rangers in Karachi are deployed in case of security emergency, as here on 22 August 2016. (Photo: RIZWAN TABASSUM / AFP)
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for Pakistani local newspaper editor Ahmed Muneeb’s immediate release and condemns the way the police in the southern city of Karachi held him incommunicado for nearly 72 hours after his arrest on 10 August with the clear aim of intimidating local journalists.

Ahmed Muneeb’s wife, Isbah Muneeb, told RSF that the family took nearly three days to locate him after soldiers and police arrived at their home at around 4 a.m. on 10 August and took him away.

 

She added that her husband has been accused of extortion. He publishes and edits the local Urdu-language daily Piyara Watan and had been covering police corruption and organized crime.

 

It was only after days of constantly questioning different authorities that Isbah Muneeb discovered that her husband is being held at Madina police station in Karachi, where the charges against him are still reportedly being investigated.

 

“Abducting journalists and holding them incommunicado seems to be becoming a tradition in Karachi,” RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk said. “Everything indicates that the proceedings against Ahmed Muneeb are just a new attempt to intimidate journalists and get them to censor themselves. We call on the authorities to free this journalist and to operate in a transparent manner.”

 

Muneeb’s wife told RSF that the police had threatened him prior to his arrest. “My husband told me that Irfan Bahadar, [a police officer] in Malir district, called him on 5 August to warn him that he would be killed if he ever crossed swords with the police.”

 

Pakistan is ranked 142nd out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index.