Wednesday, 16 December 2009

‘Missing’ Baloch journalist found in police custody

By Malik Siraj Akbar

QUETTA: Police said on Tuesday they had arrested a Bolan-based journalist under the Explosives Act.

Rehmatullah Shaheen, a correspondent of a Baloch nationalist newspaper, Daily Tawar, “went missing” on December 8. The newspaper is believed to be the mouthpiece of Baloch militants. Shaheen’s family and journalist bodies protested across Balochistan against his disappearance. Bolan District Police Officer Junaid Arshad confirmed that the missing journalist was ‘now’ in police custody. The police registered a case against the 25-year-old man – known for his anti-government reporting.

Requesting anonymity, an official said: “The case was registered on December 14, but the journalist was missing since December 8.” He said Shaheen, also a Balochistan Students Organisation-Azad member, had also been interrogated in Quetta for his alleged “anti-state activities”. Police seized a grenade from his house in Mach and arrested his brother Mohammad Ali, cousin Muhammad Hassan and a guest, Jan Muhammad.

A friend told Daily Times that the journalist, also a government employee, was serving in the Mach grid station. “Before his arrest, he informed a friend by the phone that the area police chief has summoned him. His family contacted police when he did not return home, but police expressed their ignorance about his whereabouts,” said another friend.

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