By Fazal Amin Beg
This contribution is focused on Imran Riaz Khan, a renowned journalist of Pakistan possessing millions of folowers and viewers on the social media network. He was unlawfully arrested by FIA (Federal Investigation Agency) at an international airport in Pakistan when he was leaving abroad and was handed over to the police personnel. He was sent to jail but then released and handed over to some unknown people (of the secret agencies) and they abducted him. For over a week, he is disappeared and no news about him so far. Despite the fact, the chief Justice of Lahore High court has been seriously pressing the related law enforcement agencies to produce Imran Riaz Khan before him in the court, frequent tactical delays and relays are made before him. Who could be behind his planned abduction? Who are those unknown people? Why was Imran Riaz arrested? What does he himself say in a video clip before his arrest? What does his legal advisor say about this incidence? What are the concerns of his family members? Around these questions, this small article will try to revolve itself and look at the states of affairs, and update the stakeholders at antioanl and international scales such as the bodies of human rights, forums related with journalism, research and academics, politics and democracy, social media network, and the like. Before moving ahead, let me clarify that sources of the data and information for this write up are series of social media forums and some of the mainstream media.
Imran Riaz Khan son of Muhammad Riaz is one of the top rated Pakistani journalists and loved by millions of viewrs, especially watched on his own YouTube Channel with his own name. He is well-known for his courageous and truthful approaches,valid reasoning and logical stances,and analyses based on facts and ground realities. He champions to represent the genuine issues and voices of the poor and middle class people, has a powerful journalistic missile over the oppressors, exploiters and usurpers of the country, and undoubtedly possesses a dominant voice with fluent and affluent communication power to win the hearts and minds of his huge audience within and out of Pakistan.
After the notorious Regime Change Operation, emerged by illicitly ousting the Government of Chairman Imran Khan in April 2022, Imran Riaz Khan has been staunchly and robustly representing the Pakistani public voices in the mainstream and especially social media.Consequently, this phenomenon is seen unfavorable to the military Establishment and the imported Government of PDM (Pakistan Democratic Movement). It should be noted that being a professional, Imran Riaz Khan has also remained a critic of the Khan regime. However, when illegitimately and through conspiracy of the then military Chief, General Javed Bajva, Khan’s government was removed, almost all the mainstream media were contained by the military establishment through their installed and puppet Government of PDM.
In such critical situations, conscious and conscientious professionals like Imran Riaz Khan could not remain silent and did not close his eyes from the facts behind the states of affairs that had started negatively impacting the lives of Pakistani citizens.For such genuine reasons, lots and series of pressures are seen to have been exerted upon Imran Riaz Khan. He was therefore arrested twice and imprisoned for two times.Imran Riaz Khan was however then presented in the courts of law and he got his bail and freed from the hands of the despotic and atrocious powers. Eventually, he resumed his journalistic contributions on both mainstream and social media.
Imran Riaz Khan would provide the news updates, offer his critical analysis of the political situations in Pakistan and would vigorously become inquisitive to ask series of valid questions from the related stakeholders like the PDM Government, especially the military establishment along with its notorious secret agencies as handlers and facilitators behind the negative consequences faced by Pakistan.He knew his life and family members were in vulnerable situation but continued to update and sensitize the citizens with the facts on the ground.
When the terroristic attack was made on Islamabad High Court on May 9, 2023 by the para-military forces (named as Rangers) and Chairman Imran Khan (former Prime Minister of Pakistan) was abducted from inside the court, a huge but anticipated protest of the whole public spread across Pakistan like the fire and flames in a forest . As per plan of the state agencies and machineries, the second tier of leaderships of Pakistan Tehrik-e Insaf (PTI) were also arrested and imprisoned. Though, as per PTI tradition , peaceful protest was expected, unfortunately some rogue elements (termed as unknown people) out of the party reportedly meddled in the mob with guns and wrongly directed the people to set on fire the military installations and structures such as the house of the Core Commander of Army at Lahore. Likewise, a small group of protestors moved towards the military General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi. Such kind of protests were also seen prominently in Peshawar and other cities.A worst example of coercion was set in the history of Pakistan.
It is noteworthy that dozens of innocent citizens of Pakistan were murdered and over 700 people wounded on this tragic incidence on May 9 and 10, 2023. More than seven thousand five hundred PTI workers and leaders were arrested across Pakistan and they are in different prisons (this also includes women and children). Barbaric attacks were made on the people However, on this very issues, I may come up with a separate contribution. .
The PDM Government under the stern direction of military establishment has controlled the mainstream media and no due coverage about Chairman Imran Khan and his party is allowed. Such phenomena were thus out of the main media. Thanks to the considerate social media operators and activists who were proactive in showing the actual situations and ground realities to the people and world community despite the fact the Internet was restricted and even now it doesn’t function smoothly. YouTubes, FaceBook, Instagram and Twitters were thus restricted consequently for many days. Nonetheless, using the VPN, a significant number of the people in Pakistan availed the facility and remained updated and sensitized others. Thanks to the related technologists, software engineers and experts for enabling the marginalized, exploited and suppressed communities across the globe.
In such grave conditions, journalists and social media operators such as Imran Riaz Khan would fight the challenging environment and cover the situations. For the purpose of uploading the videos, they would go to different places and publish their contents and keep the public updated. However, the situation regarding the Internet provision was and is unpredictable. Anytimes, the oppressors could bar the people from such fundamental human rights.
Although, life security risks for Imran Riaz Khan and his family members had already severely increased in Pakistan, he plans to go to Oman and contribute his part effectively within his profession. He leaves for Sialkot International Airport on May 11, 2023 and from there he was supposed to fly. After getting his boarding pass, when he reaches at the counter of Immigration, the personnel of FIA (Federal Investigation Agency) restrict his international flight . they thus hand over him to the police. He is thus unlawfully arrested for the third time without any legal warrant. Such malicious and tactical arrest of Imran Riaz Khan is thus much condemnable.It is very frustrating and vexing for those who believe in and practice freedom of speech and expression while remaining within the ambit of national and global values that are universal among the humanity.
The illegal arrest of Imran Riaz Khan in the hands of notorious Punjab police doesn’t stop here but the actual story begins from here onward. The concerned police officials in Cantt Police Station of Sialkot are ignorant that what type of forged case could be made around which to justify his arrest. He is brought to the police station at 4:00 a.m (in the norning) and by 11:00 a.m, a case is fabricated that he was inciting the people in a village named Dhana. Based on this pretext, MPO 3 is applied on him(MPO stands for Maintenance of Public Order). He is then sentenced a month or so hous arrest. It is quite a funny, indeed. He is then imprisoned in Sialkot Jail. Remaining there for a day, he is unconventionally released at mid-night and handed over to some unknown people (as the CC Camera footages testify that was presented to the Chief Justice of Lahore High Court on May 16).
Following the monstrous incidence, Imran Riaz Khan disappears from the scene. The related and high ranked police personnel thus show their ignorance about him by arguing that they had released him from the Sialkot Jail. No FIR (First Information Report) was registered either against Imran Riaz Khan when he was illegally arrested; and nor any FIR was filed in favor of him after his disappearance. It became possible only when Mr. Amir Hussain Bhatti, the Chief Justice of Lahore High Court, legally pressed the concerned Government officials and ordered to prioritize this criminal offence on top and the FIR was registered for proper and legal actions.
Although, there are many valid questions to be asked and explored for the actual answers, one of the befitting question arises who were those people in a black car to whom the police personnel handed over Imran Riaz? Whether it is an allegation or a fact, the incidence goes straight to the secret agency officials like InterServices Intellgence (ISI) and Military Intellegence (MI) within the military establishment (under Ministry of Defense) who are monstrously known for such types of malicious practices. It doesn’t mean the civilian secret agencies of the Government like Intellegence Bureau (IB) functional under the Ministery of Interior are exempted at all. As the first instance of unlawful intervention we could witness at the Sialkot Airport by the FIA who restricted Imran Riaz on the command of their chiefs and bosses.
It should be kept in mind that Imran Riaz Khan has already anticipated and identified the culprits or involved agents in his last video message and he holds them responsible in case of any negative consequence such as life elimination in their hands or under their custodial torture. However, when we seriously observe the content of the video, it sounds he is in a state of confusion and trouble somewhere in result of his arrest in the first phase and it might have been at the airport and at a private place or somewhere else. He might have got an opportunity and recorded his video and uploaded it from a safe place somewhere. First, he states that he has been arrested while he is scheduled to fly for Oman. as he says: “I was arrested at the Sialkot Airport as I was leaving for Oman.” He then states: “I am not arrested yet while recording this video live and those who are listening the video. From Sialkot, I am going to fly for Omon and then I will be arrested. And the reason behind is so obvious:I like to express my viewpoints. I wlike to talk.” After an ample amount of discussion, he then also mentions that he was not arrested during the time of the video recording. He says: “There is no issue of surrendering myself [to the police]. If you are watching this video, I might have been arrested again.”
Well, why could there be such state of confusion?This infers that he may not be at a safe place to record the video. Opposed to his natural tones of speech in the earlier videos, here he is relatively in slow tone. He might be at a place where people could be around and with a fear and mental pressure, he apparently avoids that his voice should be listened by others. Therefore his voice also sounds slow.
Imran Riaz Khan describes that how he was indimidated regarding his life. Also he was enticed for his employment at the cost of moving back from his stance about the Regime Change Operation.In other words, it means to stop speaking in fabor of Chairman Imran Khan and his party. When he stands with his robust and principled stance and continues his journalism focused on the facts and ground realities, how he himself, his family members, friends and team members are threatened of their lives through different tactics is a serious point of concern to those who are the related citizens. He clearly unveils that how life security risks have increased for him while in Pakistan. He states that the police and other law enforcement people especially the agents and personnel of the secret agencies like Inter Services Intellegence (ISI) and others who are not in uniforms have been chasing him and his team members. As he describes: “Different categories of people have been following us everywhere. Wherever I go, Those people have been meticulously monitoring and smelling [my foot prints].”
In an unsecured and hostile environment for him and his team members, Imran Riaz Khan gets fedup and plans to leave the country and go somewhere and continue his mission from the distant places like Shaheed Arshad Sharif (a highest level of investigative journalist of Pakistan who was tragically murdered in Kenya on October 23 , 2022). However, he delays his plan when Chairman Imran Khan was barbarically abducted from inside the Islamabad High Court on May 9, 2023. Imran Riaz Khan then thinks and suspends his plan to stay in the country for a specific timeframe until the situation gets improved so that factual reporting and updates should be provided to the Pakistani nation instead of peoples dependence on the fabricated and tempered news and analyses scripted by the military Establishment, its secret agencies and the mafia of the Government. This shows the patriotism of Imran Riaz Khan that he prefers to be in the field and provide actual updates to the citizens and his huge viewers. Consequently, he contributes honestly and requests the people to protest peacefully (as it is their right) but avoid opting for violence. His videos are the testimony in this regard available on his channel.
Though, he proactively and dedicatedly provided the news udpates and his analyses on the deteriorated political situation of Pakistan, it was so panic and hard for the citizens in the country when an important and fundamental right of Internet connection was seized from the people. This phenomenon also gravely frustrated Imran Riaz Khan who would rove and wander from one place to other for the sake of uploading the recorded videos on his social media channels. He then decides to leave the country and go to Oman and continue his noble and journalistic mission.
We need to understand that Imran Riaz Khan has an upstanding personality and the way he speaks based on his credible sources cannot be ignored at any level. He clearly mentions and specifieds in the last video message that the people interested and involved in his arrest and torture are initially those in Raivand (referring to the Sharif family including Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif).
Apart from his effective communication and analysis of the political situations, it sounds Imran Riaz Khan also wanted to be physically among the people to show his solidarity with them for their fundamental human rights. That is why he is seen to have consulted his team members, friends and colleagues who advise him to speak on the situation and continue his communication with a huge audience he possesses on the social media. In caseof the Internet restriction or in time of his arrest, he won’t be able to sustain his communication and sensitization relation about the ground realities with the public at large. The decision to go abroad also could be seen connected with this important advice he receives.
Imran Riaz Khan also apprehends that after he is gone abroad, some people may spread rumours that he has absconded from the country like Nawaz Sharif, a former Prime Minister of Pakistan, who is afraid of coming back to Pakistan despite the fat there is the government of his brother Shabaz Sharif. He thus presents a couple of stories related with his arrest in Islamabad and at Lahore Airport. He mentions how did he bravely and voluntarily hand over himself to the police instead of resisting or avoiding the arrest in different ways. He reminds his audience that after the regime change operation in Pakistan, he went abroad threice. Based on the experience of such foreign visits and speculation behind, he shares how some of the journalists made propaganda that Imran Riaz had fled the country. When he returns, for instance, from Dubai in a couple of days, they got a humiliation for their speculation.
Keeping in view the life threats and insecurity to him , Imran Riaz Khan also shares an important point that during his foreign visits to United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and other countries in 2022 and 2023 respectively, his family members and friends strongly advised him to stay abroad and should not come to Pakistan. But he ignored their advice and returned for the sake of Pakistan as he thinks without his country there is no appropriate place for him.
Elaborating further, Imran Riaz Khan therefore ensures his people that he was not fleeing the country at all as he cannot live without Pakistan. He reiterates that the only reason for going abroad was to express his thoughts and get connected with his people through digital forums on the principles of freedom of speech and expression. He wantd to speak freely as Shaheed Arshad Sharif did speak. HE avows that till his last breath he would speak fearlessly and around the principle of freedom of speech. He asserts whether he is within or out of Pakistan, he will speak freely. If he is imprisoned and released , he will continue speaking within the framework of freedom of speech.
Imran Riaz Khan has an invigorated and impactful voice when he speaks, informs and sensitizes the Pakistani nation on his channels. He realizes that the ban or restriction on the social media primarily by the Military Establishment and its secret intelligence agencies through the dummy Government of PDM has seriously violated the fundamental human rights at all levels. He right in his stance and argument that after restriction on the Internet, a small number of people could get access to the right and true information. We can observe his great enthusiasm and real passion for his profession that he doesn’t give in or give up. Instead, he is determined to effectively contribute to the exploited and marginalized people of Pakistan through his news updates from the fields, analyses and sensitization . Imran Riaz Khan so courageously pinpoints the unlawful involvement of the military and its related secret agencies in politics; and rightly condemns the decisions made by a few people of the Establishment. He thus discloses that in result of the fair journalism how his life and his family and colleagues are in a great trouble and danger as they have been strongly but precariously encountering the decades long mafia.
Opposed to any diversion in his thoughts, Imran Riaz Khan powerfully upholds his stance regarding the basic political right of the huge population of Pakistani citizens. He says: “The stance I had yesterday, that is the same today. I cannot drift aside from my stance because this is pertaining to the issue of my country. It is the people of the country who have to decide for their fate. The decision of 230 million people cannot be made by the few brains of people behind the closed door. No matter at what level they are intelligent, they cannot compete the collective knowledge of 230 million people.” He further states: “The only solution to the grave issue of Pakistan is by holding the election.”
Imran Riaz Khan so vividly and bravely clarifies it to the audience that how there is a nexus around the malicious and criminal intersts of both the PDM Government and the Military Establishment. Due to their common exploitative causes, both groups support each other and honor their illegal wishes . He specifies that those who would disagree with the wishes of such categories of political mafias, they will be crushed through different tactics. He firmly believes that once the Establishment will get itself aside from the political alliance, the PDM Government will collapse spontaneously. The coalition, he precisely thinks, is for the time being like stones on the ice. Once the ice begins melting, the stones will then sit on the ground (soil).
Keeping in view the increasingly deteriorating, disabling and suffocating environment for freedom of expression in Pakistan, like other innumerable number of people, Imran Riaz is seen to have compelled to leave his country. But at the same time he is determined to contribute his due part to his suppressed people through the professional and citizen journalism. As he says: “It was exactly the same way as Shaheed Arshad Sharif had gone through. He also avoiding his arrest so to safeguard his voice and it should not be restricted or stopped.”
Imran Riaz then refreshes and reminds the Pakistani citizens of the press conference of the Military Establishment during the funeral day of late Arshad Sharif in October 2022. The Director General of ISPR (InterServices Public Relations) and Director General of ISI (InterServices Intellegence)had said: “if they [ISI] had opted to restrict the travel of Arshad Sharif, he would not have gone out of the country.” Imran Riaz Khan thus logically and convincingly argues: “I cannot go abroad now and you need to understand that those individuals [high ranked officers of ISI] won’t like me to leave the country.”
Defending and championing the freedom of speech for all, especially the journalist community, Imran Riaz Khan vociferously says that as a journalist, it is hig utmost right to speak the truth and bring forward the fact to the people. He maintains that whatever he has presented to the people, they are within the ambit of the law and constitution. No one could object around his professional endeavors. He is of the strong and valid opinion that journalists must not think to please someone but rather to take the course of journalism with maximum objective approaches. He added that earlier his language and speech was favorable to some group of people or some parties in the country but today it may not be encouraging to them. Continuing ahead, he maintains that the speech and language he has today, which is suited to Pakistan Tehrik-e Insaf (PTI), possibely when PTI is in power and my way of expression and speech may not be favorable to these concerned people tomorrow. But the real journalism should go above and beyond such considerations.
Pertaining to the atrocities levied upon the citizens in Pakistan by the roguish personnel of secret agencies , Imran Riaz Khan strongly warns all those, especially the journalists, that tomorrow the opressions will be faced all those who think they are secure. The suppression by such elements may directly catch them like the fire in one’s house,though their brutalities are faced by him and his family at present. He maintains that at such juncture of his life and career, when he decided to leave the country, he was arrested.
Finally, in a serious, miserable, capricious and insecure situation, Imran Riaz Khan reveals: “If God confers me with life, you will then listen me. If you want to listen my voice, I will request you all, especially my mothers, sisters and all women, to pray for me. This is a difficult time of my life but let’s hope for the best. This situation will also hopefully pass on.”
Although, the description of the messages of Imran Riaz Khan I presented above in my own way, in this small contribution, I consider it highly pertinent to also come up with and present the English version of his last video clip that I translating from Urdu. The video clip is comprised on nine minutes or so. Almost all things are clear in his message that why he would be arrested again and who are behind the malevolent script of the drama. I thus invite you to go through the texts line by line to understand the actual states of affairs. As a real case, I am presenting his discussion (English translated version) that you could find between the underlines from here onward.
In the name of God, the Benevolent, the Merciful
Greetings to all viewers: You are watching the YouTube channel. I am Imran Khan. Continue watching the youTube channel. In this connection, I was arrested. I will put all the situations before you. While watching this video, I will then have been arrested. If you don’t watch this video, I might not have been arrested. What are the causes of the arrest? I will elaborate it to you.
When the Regime Change Operation was made [in Pakistan in April 2022], since then I have been continuously providing you the news updates. I lost my employment four times. Many times I was intimidated. Many times I was reminded of the dangerous consequences. I was called over and I met with the related people [referring to the secret agencies, especially the personnel of InterServices Intellegence or ISI]. They would then tell me the strange things.They tried on different fronts to convince me by assuring that the (forged) cases suited against me will be terminated. The issue of my employment will be resolved. But in turn, I should change my stance [they conditionalized]. I however didn’t change my stance since the Regime Change Operation. Consequently, I have come across the punishment.
Behind the wall of my house, where my parents room is located, someone was brought, beaten up and shooted with bullets .he would scream and cry. This [criminal act] they did in order to terrorize my family members at home. Sometimes, they would send drones in my home. Sometimes, they would employ the heavy machines to destroy my house. All our businesses were closed down. My brothers were harassed. I was harassed. My family was harassed. I was threatened that my family will be murdered.
Well, when Chairman Imran Khan was arrested [on May 9, 2023], I had my plan to go out of Pakistan but I then cancelled it with a hope that the situations in the country would get improved and I will then go out of the country. Instead of allowing me to give the coverage of the situations and permit to speak on the states of affairs on the ground, conversely the Internet services in the country was restricted. For the last two days, I have been roaming at various places in the area in order to record my videos. Sometimes, I would go somewhere, and sometimes in other places to upload the videos. There is thus no availability of Internet services and in a grave situation we have been managing our tasks.
The reason [further] behind [leaving the country] therefore is so dangerous that attacks are made on our houses. My colleagues and myself have been facing this unfortunate situation frequently. My family members are being harassed constantly . For the purpose of arresting me, twice my house has been encircled and entrapped. Earlier, I didn’t share these situations with you [the viewers] because there were many other important news to be shared with you.
According to the information I have received, the orders are being made from Raivand [House of Nawaz Sharif in Lahore]that at any cost I should be arrested.
In pakistan, the social media has already been restricted. So, rest of the voices that are still proactive should be stopped and the right of the speakers should be seized. But, I like to speak.I like to share the information, as I cannot participate physically in the situations. Instead, I offer my analysis.I provide the information and I have my own standpoint against the Regime change Operation. I have my own stance about the decisions made in the closed doors:against the involvement of the Establishment in politics. I amd therefore paid with the punishment. I have thus been facing the bitter realities constantly for the last one year. God forbid, no one should get encountered with such situations.
Let me clarify one thing here again, as I had already stated some days earlier. The politicians haven’t got such power or limit to restrict the land for its people. They cannot do so. But, at this time, the interests of both the Establishment and politicians fuse together. That is why they take fully care of each other. They respect the wishes of each other. The politicians have also become facilitators. For instance, it is an old tradition that those politicians who don’t agree or like your opinions, they opt to crush you. Though, they don’t possess the required capacity to deliver it, because, at present, the [Military] Establishment and the Government have their interrelationships, they have come to such position for the time being. I still [firmly] stand on my viewpoint that if the Establishment will remove itself from the alliance, the people in the Government cannot do anything. If the Establishment remains neutral, those people [in the Government] cannot do anything.
Now, look at the causes of my arrest. I was arrested at the Sialkot Airport as I was leaving for Oman. Why was I going to fly for this country? First, uploading the videos here in Pakistan has become so challenging. The police and other people [personnel of secret agencies] have been persuading us. There are some other people of the law enforcement agencies [ISI]that are not in uniform and are chasing us. Different categories of people have been following us everywhere. Wherever I have been, Those people have been meticulously monitoring and smelling [my foot prints].
I am not arrested yet while recording this video and those who are listening the video [Live]. From Sialkot, I am going to fly for Omon and then I will be arrested. And the reason is so obvious:I like to express my viewpoints. I wlike to talk. When I consulted my team members, my other friends, and many other people, they advised me to speak on and it is very important to continue speaking on the issues instead of physical appearance ]somewhere in the gathering]. [They said: “Because, in this way, through you, the information gets communicated to the people. Therefore, for the sake of getting news and information updates, it is important to speak on the issues. If the grave situations regarding restriction on the Internet continues, or if you are arrested, you won’t be able to speak on.” Or it is also possible that some people will make propaganda that in order to avoid the arrest, I have fled the country. This will be made by those whose leader [i.ge., Nawaz Sharif]has fled the country and with a fear he doesn’t come back,despite the fact there is his brother’s Government in Pakistan. But he doesn’t dare to make his return .
As for avoiding the arrest, last time, when I was caught at the Islamabad Airport, I had asked the personnel of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) myself if they like to arrest me? In turn, I was then arrested. I had never resisted in anyway. Instead, I cooperated with them and joined the personnel. The FIA officials will witness it to you. Besides, when the police came to arrest me, the official to whom I had surrendered myself, despite the fact I had the bail present with me and the Islamabad High Court had ordered not to arrest me.Nevertheless, I was then arrested. When I was detained, the concerned police official will tell you as a witness where he said to me: “You showed your strong courage and bravery to surrender.” He said that they had the apprehension that you might lock the car as I had an armored car with me. If I had locked myself in the car, the police officials could not take me out of it. There was this risk factor that the people would gather there and a big drama would have emerged.
It should be noted that there is no issue of surrendering myself [to the police]. If you are watching this video, I might have been arrested again. The stance I had yesterday, that is the same today. I cannot drift aside from my stance because this is pertaining to the issue of my country. It is the people of the country who have to decide for their fate. The decision of 230 million people cannot be made by the few brains of people behind the closed door. No matter at what level they are intelligent, they cannot compete the collective knowledge of 230 million people.
In short, the only solution to the grand issue of Pakistan is by holding the election. For whatever time I am in the prison, you won’t be able to listen my voice. It was for this reason to save my voice and leave out of Pakistan. It was exactly the same way as Shaheed Arshad Sharif had gone. He was also mere avoiding his arrest so his voice must not be stopped. He thus continued his speech . You might rmember that during his death days, the senior military officers including dg ISPR (Director General InterServices Public Relations) and DG ISI (Director General, InterServices Intellegence)had held their joint press conference where they said that if they had opted to restrict travel [of Shaheed Arshad Sharif), he would have not gone out of Pakistan. [Logically], I cannot go abroad now and you need to understand that they [DG ISI] won’t like me to go out and therefore could not travel out now.
I am a journalist and freedom of speech is my right. Till today, I haven’t said a sentence (illegally) for which these people could take any legal action against me. Whatever I have said, they are within the ambit of the law and constitution [of the land]. In this regard, whether or not my talk or speech suits some people it is up to them. Up to yesterday, my language suited some people and today it doesn’t favor them. Today, it suits the people of Tehrik-e Insaf and they are happy. It is possible tomorrow my speech won’t be suitable to them and they would be angry with me. Such phenomena continue but the right of speech of the journalists should not cease.
Sometimes earlier, I had spoken somewhere [in a gathering) that the fire will catch the house of all of you. It has reach to our house and it has devastated our lives. We have become targeted and also my family. The time has come to a phase where I was leaving Pakistan and I was arrested.
Keep in mind I had gone out of Pakistan thrice. Recently, I had paid pilgrimage [in Saudi Arabia], and thanks God. All my family advised me not to come to Pakistan but I returned [neglecting their advice].When I was in Dubai, all my family asked me to stay there and should not come to Pakistan but I returned, again. I had gone outside Pakistan in October, you might rmember Ms. Uzma Bukhari [a female journalist on television) had made fun of me.Likewise, Mubashir Luqman, who has been a friend of mine and he also made fun of me that why did I run out of Pakistan. I had two days assignment and I returned [instanlly]. After my arrival in Pakistan, they had to face the humiliation.
I am not absconding somewhere and all of you knowe it well. I cannot live without Pakistan. I cannot survive without this country. The only reason is I like to speak as late Arshad Shaheed liked to speak. As far as I am alive, I would like to talk. When I am outside, I would speak. When I am released, I will speak on, again. Though, I have been arrested, pray that God confers me with life and once I am freed, you will then listen me. If you like to listen my voice, I will then request you all, especially my mothers, sisters and all women, to pray for me. This is a difficult time in my life but let’s hope for the best.This time will also hopefully pass on.
Thanks a lot!
Source: Imran Riaz Khan YouTube Channel
After Imran Riaz Khan’s detailed messages, I would invite you to read the concerns and legal points that has been raised by one of his legal advisors named Mian Ali Ashfaq, a renowned lawyer of Pakistan. He states in such manner.
After Imran Riaz Khan’s detailed messages, I would invite you to read the translated version in English I had made where serious concerns and legal points have been raised by one of his legal advisors named Mian Ali Ashfaq, a renowned lawyer of Pakistan. He states in such manner.
For the abduction of Imran Riaz Khan, Punjab police and the jail police played their facilitative role. Four days have passed after Imran Riaz Khan has disappeared. Imran Riaz Khan was arrested at Sialkot International Airport without any legal basis while he was going to Aman. Initially, he was detained for a short while and then unlawfully kept in the Sialkot Cantt Police Station . Afterwards, a fake and baseless story was made and recommended to the DCO (District Coordinating Officer) for the order. The DCO Sialkot illicitly, as it is out of his jurisdiction, issued the detention order. Subsequently, Imran Riaz was put in the Sialkot Jail. After eighteen hours, at 11:00 p.m (night), at the pretext of releasing him, which is for the first time in Pakistan’s history and by violating the jail manual, the IG (Inspector General) of Punjab Police, Sialkot Police and the related personnel of the Jail facilitated other law enforcement agencies of the State. Those people [referring to the personnel of InterServices Agency) with facilitation of the police officials, abducted Imran Riaz Khan, which is for the first time in the history of Pakistan where a person is kidnapped from the jail.
You then observed that on behalf of Imran, a petition was filed in the Lahore High Court. In response, the honorable Chief Justice of the High Court gave an hour’s timeline to the Inspector General of Punjab to produce Imran Riaz Khan before him. But the order was not complied. Subsequently, IG Jails was summoned and asked that in whose custody was Imran Riaz Khan? He also shared a fabricated story in order to satisfy the Court but the court didn’t get satisfied at all. He then directed to provide additional reports.
The honorable Chief Justice of Lahore thus strictly ordered to provide the CC footages around the concerned jail when he was being released at night. He then directed the Sialkot police and the DCO to provide all those documents to show the circumstances as bonafide and to show the tracking and tracing.All necessary documents should therefore be provided to the court.
Consequently, all documents were submitted to the High Court. After a thorough analysis, the honorable court has upheld the case. Now, a scenario is comong on the surface where we had already felt the risk and the evidence is coming to the limelight.Three people were covered in veil and their vehicle was seen ready there. The situation shows that those external people had closed coordination with those inside the jail and Punjab police. In this way, abduction of Imran Riaz was made with the facilitation of Punjab and jail police.
Now, he has been taken to an unknown place somewhere and is disappeared. So far, no track and trace could be made about him.
Article 19 of the Constitution of Pakistan clearly provides freedom of expression. You saw that Imran Riaz Khan is the only journalist in the history of Pakistan who was victimized at such a serious level. Imagine, last year, 23 fake, baseless and fabricated cases were made against him across the country by the police and FIA.Later, all courts thus termed them as forged, fake and malicious; and dismissed those cases. The existing circumstances and scenario in Pakistan could never be made an excuse and detain a person for an indefinite period of time. There is the constitution and law in the country. Pakistan is still a democratic country. But these organizations of the Government and the prevailing behavior of the Government are unacceptable. The cours in Pakistan are seen playing their roles effectively.Kindly, the journalists in Pakistan , especially Imran Riaz Khan and all others arrested, should be released promptly. The developed situation in Pakistan and the restrictions imposed upon them are unacceptable and they cannot sustain furthermore.
Source of the Updates and Messages of Mian Ali Ashfaq, Legal Advisor of Imran Riaz Khan, on PakiLinkNews:
Based on the above legalities, pointed out by Mian Ali Ashfaq, we could see that Mr. Muhammad Riaz father of Imran Riaz Khan files an FIR (first Information Report) against the unknown people and even the police itself in the police station. So, please read the English version of his messages thatI have translated and present here as under.
To: The DPO Sialkot District,
The applicant’s son, Muhammad Imran Riaz, who is a renowned anchorperson, was arrested at the Airport as he was scheduled to travel towards Amman on May 11, 2023. After getting his flight Boarding Pass and reaching at the Immigration Counter, the personnel of FIA (Federal Investigation Agency) stopped my son at 2:30 p.m, without presenting any reasonable justification. My son, Muhammad Imran Riaz was then handed over to the personell of Cantt. police stationthe at the Airport Area. My family members and staff members of Imran Riaz including Aftab Ahmad, Naveed Anwar, Muhammad Haris Khan and Adnan Gul (among them, two are the producers of Imran Riaz and two are his drivers). All of these people thus left the Airport at 3:30 p.m and reached at the police station along with my son around 4:00 p.m.By this time, there was no lawsuit against my son.
My son was thus kept unlawfully in the custody of the police. No one of my family and staff members (of Imran Riaz)was allowed to meet my son.
On May 11, 2023 at 1:00 p.m (afternoon) the police accepted to arrest my son Imran Riaz and on behalf of the Deputy Commisioner Sialkot the order of exercising 3 MPO (Maintenance of Public Order, a lawsuit section) of house arrest against my son was brought forward. According to this order, rong accusation was nade against my son that he was provoking the people of a village named Dhana, which is totally a wrong and baseless allegation.
Source of the FIR against the Police by Muhammad Riaz, father of Imran Riaz Khan: Zain Ali YouTube Channel
When there came up a high level of insensitivity and ignorance by the related public servants within the law enforcement agencies, the family members of Imran Riaz Khan are seen so much in a trouble. In this regard, wife of Imran Riaz Kahn is seen to come in the media and appeals the whole nation to raise their genuine and strong voices in favor of her husband who has been abducted bythe the unknown people. Please read her message below that I have translated in English for the international audience.
Greetings Pakistan: Imran Riaz Khan, a well-known and accepted voice and name of Pakistan, the most listened voice in journalism! I am Mrs. Imran Riaz Khan. For the last five days, we don’t know anything about Imran.
The way Imran has raised his voice for Pakistan and Pakistanis during his last fifteen years of journalism commitment and has been to the most difficult areas of the country for the reporting purpose, they are not hidden from anyone. These days, the way his family members, friends and companions have gone in great trouble and anxiety , God forbid and should not bring such situation even to the enemies. The parents of Imran have taught him to speak the truth. He therefore has always raised his voice against corruption and the corrupt elements. He has raised his voice against the inhuman treatement.
I appeal Pakistan, the mothers, sisters and brothers in Pakistan to pray for the release of Imran. I am grateful to all of you , the way you chorused your voices with us for the last five days. We do trust our honorable judges and the team of lawyers. The way the case is being processed in the court of law, we do have confidence on them. We do anticipate and have full trust for the justice from them as we have knocked the door of the High Court. The next 48 hours are very important for usas the Court has given this timeframe for us. May God bless Imran and those people present him in the court safely and that Imran is with us.
I have the only request from the mothers, sisters and brothers of our nation and the journalist friends of Imran to raise their voices as the next 48 hours are very important for us, for Imran’s children and his parents.
Source of the Request of Mrs. Imran Riaz Khan to Pakistani Nation: Capital TV
In a situation, where the legal system takes its weak position or otherwise and the notion is “Might is Right” prevails, all individuals become concerned about their survival . No family could then be spared when people start living in a banana republic. We could witness that how Mr. Muhammad Riaz, the compassionate father of Imran Riaz Khan, comes forward and expresses his heart in a serious compulsion. It is so much touching, indeed. He says:
“It was the fault of my father who taught me to tell the truth. The same trait of telling the truth I transferred to my children. If it is a crime, it is mine and I should then be hanged. I cannot tell him to stop telling the truth. How could I tell him that I taught him for the whole life?”
Source of the video clip: Capital TV
Similarly, one of the brothers of Imran Riaz Khan named Usman Riaz Khan shows his concern and requests the public to raise their voices for the release of his brother from the clunches of the beasts apparently in human forms.
Greetings! I am Usman Riaz Khan. Imran Riaz Khan is disappeared for the last three days. He was arrested from Sialkot Airport. My parents and I have appeal from the whole nation to kindly raise your voice for him. The way he was raising your voices, the time has come to raise your voices for him now. Please post more and more on the social media. As much as you can, please raise your voices. Many many thanks.
Source of the video clip: Capital TV
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