Pak intel agencies abducted Karachi scribe for writing against state

Pakistan journalist Waris Raza, who had gone missing in Karachi, has returned home and said that he has been given a warning to exercise caution.

The journalist, however, said that he will continue to exercise his right to free expression.

Earlier, Raza’s family had said that he was detained in the Gulshan-e-Iqbal area of Karachi on the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday. The police in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, however, claimed that they did not know any details of the incident, Friday Times reported.

Returning home after having gone missing for 14 hours, Raza told the BBC that he had been blindfolded and taken to an unknown location. He said the men who took him said they were not with the Rangers. They mentioned that they were associated with an intelligence agency, but did not name it, Raza told BBC.

Raza said his abductors told him that he was writing against the state, to which he responded that he was writing in accordance with Article 9 of the Constitution of Pakistan. The abductors then asked him which article was he talking about, to which Raza said that it relates to freedom of speech.

The abductors also asked him questions about his Facebook posts and a column he wrote for a newspaper. “Why are you against the hybrid system? Is it really that bad,” they asked Raza.

Raza responded that the hybrid system was against democratic norms and that is why he opposed it.

Raza’s abductors told him that he was “an honest person” who should think about why he was against the Pakistan Media Development Authority.

“Be careful, don’t do it again,” he was told, the report said.

Raza said that he insisted that he would not give up his freedom of expression. Later, he was brought near the Gulshan-e-Iqbal police station and released.

Raza is associated with the Urdu daily ‘Express’ and has been a leading member of the Communist Party of Pakistan. He was also a general secretary of the Progressive Writers’ Association.