Prominent TV Anchorperson Sami Ibrahim Disappears Amid Political Tensions

Sami Ibrahim and Imran riaz khan missing

Prominent Pakistani journalist and television host, Sami Ibrahim, has been reported missing in Islamabad, authorities disclosed on Thursday. 

The Islamabad Police have initiated search efforts to locate the missing journalist. While acknowledging the gravity of the situation, a spokesperson of the police cautioned against jumping to conclusions prematurely. The police have affirmed their full cooperation with Ibrahim’s family during this difficult time. 

Ali Raza, Ibrahim’s brother, filed a complaint at Aabpara Police Station, revealing that the renowned journalist was ambushed by multiple vehicles near Sector G-6, Sixth Avenue around 9 pm on Wednesday. Sami Ibrahim was en route home from his office with his driver at the time of the incident. 

According to the official complaint, an estimated eight to ten unidentified individuals forcibly apprehended Sami Ibrahim. In addition, they confiscated the driver’s three mobile phones and car keys. 

Ibrahim’s disappearance occurs in the backdrop of an intense state-led clampdown on the leadership, workforce, and supporters of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). Journalists vocal about their support for PTI or critical of infringements on civil liberties and judicial rights have also been targeted in the recent sweep. 

Notably, journalists Imran Riaz Khan and Aftab Iqbal, both known PTI advocates, were detained earlier this month. While Khan’s location remains undisclosed, Iqbal has reportedly been released. 

Read More: Anchorperson Imran Riaz Khan’s Father Appeals for Mercy as Son’s Whereabouts Remain Unknown

The incident has sparked significant public outcry, with severe criticism mounting on social media platforms. Moeed Pirzada, a senior journalist, took to Twitter to voice his concern. He questioned the global perception of Pakistan, where notable journalists can suddenly vanish. He highlighted the unexplained absence of Imran Riaz, who went missing two weeks ago after being arrested at Sialkot Airport. 

Mazhar Abbas, another respected journalist, queried the absence of a protective commission for journalists, despite legislation safeguarding journalists’ rights enacted in 2021. 

Pakistan has frequently been criticized by international press freedom and human rights groups for violations of freedom of speech and failing to ensure the safety of journalists. The country ranks 150 out of 180 on the 2023 Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). 

This incident marks the second time Ibrahim has been targeted by “unidentified individuals”. In July 2022, he reportedly endured a physical assault by unknown assailants near his office in Islamabad. Ibrahim, who suffered minor injuries, stated that the attackers, driving a vehicle with a “green registration plate”, recorded the incident. 

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