Pakistani journalist, supporter of former Prime Minister Imran Khan goes missing, second in 2 weeks
ISLAMABAD (AP) — A prominent Pakistani television journalist known for his public support of former Prime Minister Imran Khan has gone missing, the police, his family and his employer said.
Sami Abrahim's disappearance was first announced in a police tweet late Wednesday, hours after he went missing. His family and the Karachi-based independent BOL television, where Abrahim works, claimed on Thursday that he had been abducted.
Abrahim has long publicly opposed the government of Khan's successor, Premier Shahbaz Sharif. Khan, a former cricket star turned Islamist politician, was in office in 2018-2022 and was ousted in a no-confidence vote in the parliament last year.
In a news announcement, BOL TV said Abrahim was taken by unidentified men on Wednesday. Abrahim's brother, Ali Raza, filed a police complaint claiming that eight people in four vehicles intercepted his brother's car on his way back home from work in the capital, Islamabad, and took him away. His driver was unharmed.
The police tweet promised they would do their best to find the well-known TV reporter.
Abrahim’s disappearance comes two weeks after another pro-Khan TV journalist, Imran Riaz, went missing. Pakistani police have denied detaining him.
Reporters Without Borders — the international media watchdog also known by its French acronym RSF — expressed concern on Tuesday for Riaz's safety. In a statement, it urged Pakistan’s government “to ensure respect for the rule of law by immediately revealing where and in what conditions he is being held.”
Earlier this month, Khan's supporters clashed for days with police across Pakistan, attacking public property — including a radio station in the northwestern city of Peshawar — and military installations, angered by his arrest from a courtroom in Islamabad. The violence only subsided after Khan was released on a Supreme Court order.
Khan has repeatedly accused Washington, Sharif and the Pakistani military of being behind his ouster — charges that all three have denied — and has been leading an opposition campaign against the government, demanding early elections.
Since the violent protests, Sharif's government has cracked down on Khan's supporters, arresting more than 5,000 and threatening trials before military courts.
Munir Ahmed, The Associated Press