ISLAMABAD: Pakistani anchorperson and YouTuber Imran Riaz Khan has been “safely recovered,” Sialkot Police confirmed on Monday, four months after the journalist was arrested and his whereabouts remained unknown following a nationwide crackdown against supporters of former prime minister Imran Khan.
The TV anchor, widely perceived to be sympathetic to ex-PM Imran Khan, was arrested from Sialkot airport on May 11, according to his lawyer Mian Ali Ashfaq, after the violent protests of May 9 which saw angry Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf supporters torch government buildings and attack military installations across the country. His lawyer told media Khan was arrested under the Maintenance of Public Order ordinance, under which authorities can arrest a person to maintain public order and extend the period of such detention for a time period not exceeding six months at a time.
According to Ashfaq, Khan was taken to Cantt police station after his arrest and later to the Sialkot prison. On May 15, a law officer told a court that Khan was released from jail after an undertaking in writing was taken from him.
Following that, his whereabouts remained unknown for four months.
Khan’s father Muhammad Riaz lodged a case of alleged abduction of his son at the Sialkot Civil Lines police against “unidentified persons” and police officials and subsequently filed a petition at the Lahore High Court for his son’s recovery. During a hearing of the petition, the LHC gave the Punjab police chief one “last opportunity” to recover the missing anchor.
“Journalist/Anchor Mr.Imran Riaz Khan has been safely recovered,” Sialkot Police wrote on Twitter. “He is now with his family.”