Prominent Pakistani human rights activist and lawyer Jibran Nasir has said that he has returned home, a day after his wife reported he was abducted by unidentified armed men in the southern city of Karachi, which prompted a widespread outcry in the country.
“I have returned home safely,” Nasir posted on Twitter on Friday, thanking those who called for his immediate release. He pledged to continue his struggle for the rights of Pakistanis.
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He did not mention whose custody he was in or the circumstances under which had been released.
His tweet about his release came after dozens of protesters held a rally in Karachi to condemn the report that he was abducted.
Earlier, Nasir’s wife said the couple was returning home after dining out on Thursday evening when a group of armed men in two vans intercepted their car in an upscale area.
The men took Nasir away but left her unharmed, said the lawyer’s wife, Mansha Pasha. She said she did not know who was behind the abduction.
The incident appeared to be the latest in a recent rash of abductions in Pakistan that rights groups have said may be forced disappearances at the hands of the secret service.
Amnesty International said the Pakistani “authorities must expeditiously and impartially investigate and determine his whereabouts”.
“If in state custody, Jibran must either be released immediately or if there is sufficient evidence, produce him in a civilian court,” the London-based watchdog said on Twitter.
Amnesty International condemns the abduction of Jibran Nasir, late last night. According to media reports, around 15 unidentified men in plain clothes abducted him near his residence. Jibran Nasir's abduction is yet another case that the country has seen in recent weeks in the… https://t.co/jrLtWDyWQu
— Amnesty International South Asia, Regional Office (@amnestysasia) June 2, 2023
Nasir, who ran in the 2018 elections as an independent candidate, has been an outspoken critic of human rights violations and represented victims as a lawyer in a number of prominent cases.
Lately, he has criticised the mass arrests of leaders from former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party and the move to try them in military courts following violent protests earlier month.
Nasir’s brief abduction came amid a continuing crackdown against Khan supporters in connection with last month’s protests and attacks on military installations and public property.
The violence erupted after Khan’s arrest on May 9 from a court in Islamabad where he was appearing in a corruption case.
The turmoil subsided only when the country’s Supreme Court released Khan. Since then, police have detained more than 5,000 people in connection with the violence.
Parliament removed Khan in a no-confidence vote in April 2022.
Rights groups have said the military courts infringe on due legal process.
Although Pakistani law prohibits detention without court approval, security officials have often detained suspects for alleged ties to armed groups.
Leading journalists have been abducted in similar circumstances, and Pakistan’s powerful intelligence services have often been suspected of intimidating critics this way, although their involvement has rarely been proved.