The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is seriously concerned about the disappearance of senior journalist Saeed Sarbazi, who was last seen on September 20, when he left his house for the Karachi Press Club. His car is also missing.
According to IFJ affiliate, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), intelligence agencies could have been involved in the disappearance of Sarbazi, who was also joint secretary of the Karachi Press Club, senior Sub-Editor of daily Business Recorder and the member All Pakistan Newspapers Employees Confederation’s National Executive Committee.
“The disappearance of such a well-known and respected journalist is particularly concerning considering Pakistan’s terrible history of journalist abductions and assaults,” IFJ President Christopher Warren said.
“Sarbazi’s disappearance adds another dreadful black mark to a regime which already has an alarmingly frightful record for journalists’ safety,” Warren said.
“The IFJ demands authorities immediately launch a full investigation into Sarbazi’s disappearance, and ensure he is returned unharmed,” Warren said.
Police have not yet released a statement, however the Home Minister Rauf Siddiqui, reportedly told protesting journalists that he would give a statement in the Sindh Assembly about Sarbazi's disappearance.
Sarbazi’s disappearance adds to a growing list of missing journalists.
Mehruddin Mari, correspondent of Sindhi daily Kawaish, has been missing since July 2, and Munir Mengal of television station Baloch Voice is still missing.
This is a further indication that the safety situation in Pakistan for journalists is deteriorating rapidly, with an unprecedented rise in violence in the region.
In the last three months journalists Hayatullah Khan and Maqbool Hussain Sial were murdered, the brother of BBC correspondent Dilawar Khan was killed, journalists from ARY and ATV private television channels were badly beaten by the police, and the NEWS correspondent, Islamabad Shakeel Anjum was implicated in a triple murder case after publishing critical stories of the police, while his son was injured in a separate attack.
“The government of Pakistan must now take swift action to determine Sabazi’s whereabouts and safety, and ensure the perpetrators of these crimes against journalists and freedom of expression, are found and brought to justice,” Warren said.
For more information please contact IFJ Asia Pacific +61 2 9333 0919
The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in over 115 countries