Kidnapped journalist Matiullah Jan released, reaches home
Senior journalist Matiullah Jan was released after a brief detention on Tuesday.–File photo
According to TV reports, Jan was released in a rural area near Fateh Jang.
Earlier on Tuesday, Jan's wife had confirmed his kidnapping in Islamabad.
In one of the tweets, a video was shared in which his car could be seen from which he was picked up by the abductors. It is said the incident occurred outside the G-6-1/3, Islamabad Model School for Girl’s where his wife works.
This is the vehicle of @Matiullahjan919 which he used last - he was forcefully picked up from in front of G-6-1/3 ,Islamabad Model School for Girl’s (where his wife works). مطیع اللہ جان یہ گاڑی استعمال کر رہے تھے کہ انہیں لاپتہ کر دیا گیا ۔ pic.twitter.com/pDQsZfOwFI— Azaz Syed (@AzazSyed) July 21, 2020
Rights groups and national political parties strongly reacted to Jan's kidnapping.
The Amnesty International expressed serious concern over the fate and wellbeing of Matiullah. “He has been the subject of physical attacks and harassment for his journalism. The authorities must establish his whereabouts immediately,” it stressed.
We are extremely concerned for the fate and wellbeing of @matiullahjan919. He has been the subject of physical attacks and harassment for his journalism. The authorities must establish his whereabouts immediately. #ReleaseMatiullah— Amnesty International South Asia (@amnestysasia) July 21, 2020
As soon as the news was broken, a strong reaction was seen on social media as people said if a renowned journalist like Matiullah Jan could be disappeared then what hope is there for ordinary people.
If a renowned senior journalist like @Matiullahjan919 can be disappeared then what hope is there for ordinary people? @ImranKhanPTI must realise Pakistan is not China or Saudi. We have a vibrant civil society. Don’t mistake Resilience for blind Acceptance #ProduceMatiullah https://t.co/2duoLBGfAc— Sulema Jahangir (@sj244) July 21, 2020
There were others who declared this incident unacceptable and demanded his immediate release.
Matiullah Jan is reported missing. Such acts of desperation will not prolong this fascist era. Hope and pray he is well.— Abbas Nasir (@abbasnasir59) July 21, 2020
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) endorsed the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ)'s demand for the federal government to take immediate measures for the safe release of senior journalist Matiullah Jan.
“We are deeply concerned at increasing attempts to control the media, suppress independent voices, and curb political dissent, thereby creating an environment of constant fear. Matiullah Jan has stood courageously by the people of Pakistan striving to realise their constitutional and fundamental rights. It is the responsibility of the government to provide safety and security to every citizen, irrespective of his or her religious or political beliefs.”
Jan's abduction is an act of cowardice and warrants immediate redressal, said the HRCP.
Later, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) ordered Jan's immediate release. IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued the orders after Jan's brother filed a complaint. Notices were 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.