May 24, 2023
By Maryam Missal
In Monday’s hearing on the habeas corpus petition seeking the recovery of Imran Riaz Khan, the missing anchorperson’s family claims that Riaz Khan is detained in Lahore.
The petition was filed by Riaz Khan’s father, who is being represented by Advocate Azhar Siddique, in the Lahore High Court (LHC).
Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Usman Answer informed the court that the missing journalist was not in the custody of the police in any city of the country.
Giving the police a second chance, LHC Chief Justice Amir Bhatti warned the IGP of dire consequences if Riaz Khan was harmed in any way, and ordered the Defence and Interior Ministries to trace the missing anchorperson. The hearing has been adjourned for May 25.
Riaz Khan’s whereabouts remain unknown since he was arrested by the Sialkot Police from the Sialkot Airport in the wee hours of 11 May when he was attempting to board a flight to Muscat, Oman. Following the LHC’s orders for his release, Imran Riaz was freed from custody at around 10:30 PM the same day. He went missing soon after exiting the jail premises.
Talking to senior journalist Munizae Jahangir in her Aaj TV show Spotlight, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah backed the IGP’s statement that Riaz is currently not in police custody. Sanaullah also mentioned two possibilities regarding Imran’s disappearance; he was either abducted by forces or he is posing as an abduction.
“We have asked [the forces], and they do not have Imran Riaz Khan. We have thoroughly looked into the matter and we have not found any trace of him,”
Countering Sanullah’s remarks, Riaz Khan’s lawyer’s associate Rana Abdul Maroof while talking to Voicepk.net said, “We suspect he is in police custody or has been handed over to the forces. If the Interior Minister is claiming a self-abduction, then they should bring forth evidence regarding this claim.”
However, Riaz Khan’s lawyer Mian Ali Ishfaq while talking to Munizae Jahangir said, “IGP Punjab has transferred the liability to sister agencies. IGP Punjab has repeatedly denied Riaz’s custody… when in fact, Imran is in civilian custody in Lahore city. I am personally aware of his whereabouts.” Ali Ishfaq further went on to call IGP Punjab primary suspect in Imran Riaz’s abduction.