IHC orders release of Matiullah Jan, summons interior secy, Islamabad IG
Senior journalist and anchorperson Matiullah Jan was kidnapped by uniformed men in the federal capital on July 21.–File photo
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) ordered immediate release of senior journalist and anchorperson Matiullah Jan who was picked up by unidentified men in black uniform in the federal capital earlier in the day.
IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued the orders after Jan's brother filed a complaint. Notices have been issued to the interior secretary and Islamabad's chief commissioner and inspector general of police (IGP) to respond on the matter.
"If he is not recovered by tomorrow, the respondents must appear before the court in person," said the order.
Earlier, Islamabad’s Aabpara Police registered a case against the unidentified men who kidnapped Jan.
The police registered the case on the application of Jan’s brother, who said the kidnappers were carrying weapons at the time of the incident, which took place in Islamabad’s Sector G-3613. Jan was picked up when he was out to pick his wife from FG Girls Primary School in Sector G-61.
Reacting to the news about Jan’s kidnapping, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly and PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif termed the incident "highly condemnable and [a] matter of deep concern".
"The government's campaign to muzzle the media and critical voices is simply shameful. If something happens to Matiullah, the PM will be held responsible," he tweeted.
Disappearance of senior journalist Matiullah Jan is highly condemnable & matter of deep concern. The government's campaign to muzzle the media & critical voices is simply shameful. If something happens to Matiullah, PM will be held responsible.— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) July 21, 2020
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said in a tweet he was "extremely concerned" at the news of Jan's abduction.
"The selected government must immediately [ensure] his safe return. This is not only an attack on media freedoms & democracy but on all of us. Today it is Matiullah, tomorrow it could be you or I," he wrote.
Extremely concerned at news that @Matiullahjan919 has been abducted from Islamabad. The selected government must immediately insure his safe return. This is not only an attack on media freedoms & democracy but on all of us. Today it is Matiuallah, tomorrow it could be you or I.— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) July 21, 2020
Chairperson of the Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights, PPP’s Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, tweeted the inspector general of Islamabad Police had been summoned to brief the committee about Jan’s abduction.
As a matter of grave urgency and unquestionable importance, IG Islamabad has been asked to brief the Human Rights committee tomorrow on abduction/disappearance of renowned journalist Matiullah Jan pic.twitter.com/Dxgg8EVMSm— Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar (@Mustafa_PPP) July 21, 2020
Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari tweeted at around 5:30pm that she had been "just informed about [Jan's] kidnapping".
She said she had taken notice of the "very disturbing" development and spoken to the inspector general of Islamabad Police who informed her that "they are looking into it".
Just informed about @Matiullahjan919 kidnapping. Have taken note and spoken to the IG Islamabad who informed me they are looking into it. Very disturbing.— Shireen Mazari (@ShireenMazari1) July 21, 2020
JUI-F President Fazlur Rehman said Jan’s kidnapping was an attack on the media and he would strongly condemn it. He said Jan’s kidnapping was an attempt to suppress voice of the media. He said that Jan was kidnapped by the state institutions and he was being kept in illegal custody.
The Supreme Court Bar Association condemned Jan’s kidnapping and appealed to the chief justice to take suo motu notice of the incident.
Also, Supreme Court judge Qazi Faez Isa and his wife visited the residence of Matiullah Jan and expressed solidarity with the family of abducted journalist. The couple expressed their concern at the incident.