A prominent Pakistani television journalist who went missing more than four months ago after being arrested by police has returned home after being freed, police and his colleagues said.
Police in Sialkot announced on Monday on X, formerly known as Twitter, that Imran Riaz Khan had been “safely recovered” and was “now with his family.” They provided no further details.
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
It is widely believed that Imran Riaz Khan, known for publicly supporting jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan, was being held by security agencies. The two men are not related.
No one has claimed responsibility for Khan’s abduction. The international media watchdog Reporters Without Borders and Pakistan’s journalist community had demanded his release.
Hamid Mir, a prominent TV journalist, confirmed that Imran Riaz Khan had reached his home in Lahore. Khan’s lawyer, Mian Ali Ashfaq, also confirmed his freedom on social media, without saying who had held him.
Imran Riaz Khan was arrested at an airport in Sialkot city in Punjab province in May as he tried to leave the country after sharing a video message saying that the space for him to do his job was shrinking in Pakistan and he was leaving so he could continue his professional work.
He went missing after his arrest, and since then, his family has been trying to determine his whereabouts.
Khan has more than 5 million followers on X and is highly popular among supporters of former Prime Minister Khan, the country’s leading opposition figure who was ousted in a no-confidence vote in April 2022.
The former prime minister was arrested in August on corruption charges and sentenced to three years in prison which was later suspended, though he remains in jail.
Imran Riaz Khan had written extensively and produced TV shows in support of the ex-prime minister before going missing.
Imran Khan’ s party, Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf, welcomed his release.
Last Thursday, agents from the Federal Investigation Agency arrested an Islamabad-based TV anchor, Khalid Jamil, who is known for criticising the authorities, on charges of spreading false information about state institutions on social media.