Anchorperson Imran Riaz Khan who had been missing for more than four months has been safely recovered and is with family, the Sialkot police said on Monday.
Imran Riaz Khan, a well known Pakistani journalist who was “missing” for almost 5 months now, has finally returned home.
— PTI (@PTIofficial) September 25, 2023
The anchor person’s lawyer Ali Ashfaq also confirmed his recovery in a post on X. “By God’s special blessing, grace, and mercy, I have brought back my prince.
Riaz — a YouTuber and television anchor — was arrested two days after violent protests broke out across the country following PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s arrest on May 9.
He was last known to be taken to Cantt police station after his arrest and later to the Sialkot prison. On May 15, a law officer told the Lahore High Court (LHC) that the anchorperson was released from jail after taking an undertaking in writing.
On September 20, the LHC had given the Punjab police chief a “last opportunity” to recover Riaz by September 26 (tomorrow). During the hearing, LHC Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti had stated that his patience was “running out”.
In a post on social media platform X (formerly Twitter) during the early hours of Monday, the Sialkot police said, “Journalist/anchor Mr Imran Riaz Khan has been safely recovered. He is now with his family.”
Imran Riaz — a YouTuber and television anchor — was arrested two days after violent protests broke out across the country following PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s arrest on May 9.
He was last known to be taken to Cantt police station after his arrest and later to the Sialkot prison. On May 15, a law officer told the LHC that the anchorperson was released from jail after taking an undertaking in writing. His whereabouts however remained unknown.
Subsequently, a first information report (FIR) of Riaz’s alleged abduction was registered with Sialkot Civil Lines police on May 16 on the complaint of the anchorperson’s father, Muhammad Riaz.
The FIR was registered against “unidentified persons” and police officials for allegedly kidnapping Riaz, invoking Section 365 (kidnapping or abducting with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
The journalist’s father had also filed a plea in the LHC for his recovery.
During a May 19 hearing of the case, the anchorperson’s father had become teary-eyed in the LHC, pleading for mercy, as the whereabouts of his son remained unknown. The next day, the LHC chief justice had ordered the police to recover and present the anchorperson by May 22.
On that date, the LHC had directed the ministries of interior and defense to “discharge their constitutional duties to effect the recovery” of the anchorperson after IG Anwar revealed that there was no trace of the journalist at any police department across the country.
The LHC was subsequently informed that both the Inter-Services Intelligence and the Military Intelligence had said the anchorperson was not in their custody. On May 26, the high court had directed “all the agencies” to work together to find the anchorperson and produce him in the court by May 30.
When that date arrived, IG Anwar had told the LHC that phone numbers that had been traced back to Afghanistan were involved in the case.