May 13, 2023

Staff Report


The family of journalist and YouTuber, Imran Riaz Khan, has said that his whereabouts since the past 48 hours remain unknown. His family has raised serious concerns about his security and well-being, and have filed a writ petition in the Lahore High Court (LHC) for his immediate recovery.

Under the orders of the DC Sialkot, police apprehended Imran Riaz in the wee hours of May 11 from Sialkot International Airport where he was attempting to board a flight to Muscat, Oman.

His lawyer, Rana Abdul Maroof, tells Voicepk that Riaz was taken to the Cantt police station where he was told that he had been arrested under Section 3 of the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) Ordinance.

The MPO Ordinance empowers the government to take certain measures to maintain public order and safety. Under Section 3 of the Ordinance, the government may issue an order for the detention of a person if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person is likely to engage in activities that could disturb public order or endanger public safety. The order may be issued by a government official who has been authorized to do so by the provincial government.

According to Maroof, the journalist was taken to District Jail Sialkot.

“However, after a few hours, the DC Sialkot withdrew Imran Riaz’s detention order and issued his release order,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Superintendent of District Jail Sialkot, Babar Ali, told that the jail authorities set Riaz Khan free on the night of May 11, at 10:30 pm, and that they have a complete record of the process.

The LHC on May 12 ordered the DPO Sialkot and IG Prisons to provide CCTV footage of the prison where it can be seen that Riaz Khan is seen leaving the premises. The petition filed by the journalist’s family will now be heard on May 15.

Fear of Torture

Sources close to Riaz Khan claim that he was picked up by intelligence agencies with the cooperation and assistance of police and jail authorities. They say that he is being tortured and not in very good health.

“We have pleaded with the authorities to allow us to meet Imran so that we can provide him food and medicines,”

a close family member says on condition of anonymity. He adds that the authorities want Imran Riaz to remain silent, especially after the arrest of PTI Chairman Imran Khan, and that they have been threatening him for a long time.

In July 2022, Imran Riaz was arrested by Punjab Police after he was accused of inciting public sentiments against the Army. However, the LHC granted him bail and ordered his release on July 9 of that same year.


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