Plea to Sharif for journalist

A woman Pakistani journalist trying to trace an Indian visitor who had disappeared after his arrest in Pakistan too vanished last year, prompting her distraught brother to commit suicide.

  • Published 28.03.16
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Lahore, March 27 (PTI): A woman Pakistani journalist trying to trace an Indian visitor who had disappeared after his arrest in Pakistan too vanished last year, prompting her distraught brother to commit suicide.

Now, another of 24-year-old reporter Zeenat Shahzadi's brothers has appealed to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to help find her.

"Helping an Indian prisoner in Pakistan has cost us dearly. My sister is missing for seven months and my brother hanged himself after losing hope of reunion with her," Salman Latif said.

"Our family can't bear more mental torture. We urge Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to help secure the release of my sister. She has not committed a crime by trying to help an Indian."

Zeenat, who worked for the Daily Nai Khabar and the Metro News television channel in Lahore, had disappeared on August 19 last year while on her way to work in an auto-rickshaw. Police have registered an abduction case against "unknown men".

Latif said Zeenat had moved an application with the Supreme Court's human rights cell on behalf of Fauzia Ansari, mother of Hamid Ansari, an engineer and MBA from Mumbai reported missing in Pakistan since November 2012.

In August 2013, Zeenat secured a special power of attorney from Fauzia, a college lecturer in Mumbai. Ansari's father Nihal is a retired bank official.

Ansari is said to have been in love with a Pakistani girl from Kohat, a district in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, whom he had met on Facebook.

According to a Pakistan Human Rights Commission official, the then 28-year-old techie had failed to obtain a visa to visit Pakistan.

Ansari arrived in Kabul on November 4, 2012, and somehow reached Pakistan. He put up with an online friend till another friend booked him a hotel room in Kohat.

On November 14 that year, the police took Ansari away and handed him over to an officer of a security agency, the rights official said.

Zeenat sent an application to the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances, which ordered the registration of an FIR. She also filed a habeas corpus plea before Peshawar High Court.

Latif said Zeenat had received threats from unknown people who asked her not to pursue the case. "We too asked her not to put her life at risk but she said she wanted to help Ansari out of humanity."

Last month, a military court is said to have jailed Ansari for three years on the charges of illegally entering Pakistan and "spying".

On Thursday, Zeenat's younger brother Saddam, an intermediate student, committed suicide.

"My mother's condition has deteriorated. My father is in shock and has stopped talking. Our only plea to the authorities is to help free Zeenat," Latif said.

Zeenat's disappearance has been included among missing persons cases being probed by a joint investigation team. Rights activists have called for Ansari's release.

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