Senior journalist Imran Riaz Khan has returned home safely after being missing for more than four months.
Sialkot police took to Twitter to officially confirm the journalist’s safe recovery, stating, “Journalist/anchor Mr. Imran Riaz Khan has been safely recovered. He is now with his family.”
The dramatic development in Imran Riaz Khan’s case came after the Lahore High Court (LHC) issued a stern ultimatum during the last hearing. Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dr. Usman Anwar was given until September 26 to produce the missing journalist in court.
In response, IG Anwar explained that a joint working group meeting was in the pipeline, requiring additional time for resolution. He clarified that this working group had been established in accordance with the LHC’s orders and that a meeting with the intelligence chief was scheduled for the upcoming day.
During a prior hearing, IG Anwar had informed the court that he had met with the petitioner and provided updates on the case’s progress. He expressed optimism, stating that the matter was “headed in a good direction,” further fueling hopes for Imran Riaz Khan’s safe return.
Imran Riaz Khan’s lawyer, Ashfaq, expressed his gratitude and relief on social media, writing, “By God’s special blessing, grace, and mercy, I have brought back my prince.”
Ashfaq acknowledged the significant challenges and delays encountered during the search for Imran, citing issues with the judicial system and the current constitutional environment that exacerbated legal complexities.
اللہ کے خاص فضل، کرم و رحمت سے اپنے شہزادے کو پھر لے آیا ھوں-
مشکلات کے انبار، معاملہ فہمی کی آخری حد، کمزور عدلیہ و موجودہ غیر مؤثر سر عام آئین و قانونی بے بسی کی وجہ سے بہت زیادہ وقت لگا- 🙏
ناقابل بیان حالات کے باوجود اللہ رب العزت نے یہ بہترین دن دکھایا اس وقت صرف بے پناہ… pic.twitter.com/z96M9pGaPZ
— Mian Ali Ashfaq (@MianAliAshfaq) September 25, 2023
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) also confirmed Imran’s return and acknowledged his ordeal as one of many cases of enforced disappearances. In a statement, the PTI called for the release of all “political prisoners and prisoners of conscience” who are being held in “illegal” detention.
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
Noted journalist Wajahat Khan, who has been closely following the case, reported that he had spoken to Imran’s family and revealed that the journalist was in a frail state and not in the best of health after his prolonged absence.
Just spoke to @ImranRiazKhan’s family. He’s weak and not in the best of health, but he’s back, MashAllah.
— Wajahat S. Khan (@WajSKhan) September 25, 2023
Imran Riaz Khan, a prominent anchorperson known for his unwavering support of ousted former PM Imran Khan and his policies, was reportedly arrested on May 11, following the unrest that erupted due to May 9 riots. His disappearance had sparked concerns about press freedom and human rights in Pakistan, and his return is expected to reignite discussions on the issue.