May 25, 2023

By Hamza Saeed


Amidst a state-led crackdown on the leadership, workers, and supporters of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), senior journalist and TV anchorperson Sami Ibrahim has reportedly gone missing. According to a statement issued by the Islamabad police, efforts are currently underway to locate and recover Ibrahim, although it is cautioned that it is too early to draw any definitive conclusions.

Ali Raza, Ibrahim’s brother, first reported the news of the journalist’s disappearance after lodging a complaint at the Aabpara Police Station. As per Raza’s account, Ibrahim was intercepted by four vehicles near Sixth Avenue, Sector G-6, around 9 pm on Wednesday, shortly after leaving his office. He was allegedly abducted by a group of eight to ten unidentified men, who also seized three mobile phones from his driver and the car keys.
This incident comes in the wake of a series of targeted actions against media personnel, particularly those voicing support for PTI or speaking out against violations of civil liberties and judicial rights. Earlier this month, journalists Imran Riaz Khan and Aftab Iqbal, both known PTI supporters, were taken into custody. While Iqbal has since been released, Khan’s whereabouts remain unknown, raising serious concerns about the safety and freedom of journalists in Pakistan.
The disappearance of Ibrahim has ignited outrage on social media, with senior journalists and the public questioning the state of press freedom in Pakistan.

The country has faced severe criticism from global press freedom and human rights groups for violating free speech rights and failing to ensure journalist safety, ranking 150 out of 180 on the Reporters Without Borders 2023 Press Freedom Index.
This is not the first time Ibrahim has been targeted. In July 2022, he was reportedly attacked and tortured by unidentified men outside his office in Islamabad. The anchorperson, who sustained minor injuries in the attack, claimed that the attackers were driving a vehicle with a green-colored registration plate and filmed the incident.
The Islamabad police have pledged to cooperate with Ibrahim’s family in their search and recovery efforts. Meanwhile, the journalism community and human rights advocates continue to call for greater protections for journalists in Pakistan, highlighting the urgent need for the implementation of laws safeguarding journalists’ rights.


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