KARACHI - A reporter of The Nation was forcefully taken away from his house Saturday night by a team of over a dozen men and then returned home after being held for nearly 20 hours.

Police and Rangers have denied any role in the abduction of Abdullah Zafar, whose father Zaferullah however suspects the illegal raid was made with their knowledge and cooperation.

The father also alleged that police was not even registering the FIR of Abdullah’s abduction, though the high ups gave verbal assurances about safe recovery of Abdullah after the journalist community protested.

Abdullah was residing with his family at Lawyers Society, Scheme 33, in Sacchal Police percents. They had moved recently from Shah Faisal Colony, where they were living with Abdullah’s uncle Ibratullah’s family.

The raiding party first went to the house of Ibratullah, blindfolded him and took him along to guide them to Abdullah’s new address.

“Over a dozen men in civvies, most of them clad in Shalwar Kameez, and all of them with their faces covered, arrived at our home Saturday night. My younger brother was also accompanying them,” said Zaferullah, the father of the journalist.

He said the raiders arrived in at least three vehicles, two of those mobile vans. He said he believed that police and Rangers personnel were also around his home when the men in the plainclothes raided his house.

“The security personnel talked with Abdullah for a couple of minutes and checked his identity cards before taking him along with them,” the father said.

Talking to The Nation, Abdullah’s uncle Ibratullah said that when they arrived at his house, the leader of the raiding team said to him that “your Rs50 million cheques have had bounced.

“He [then] asked who was living at the ground floor of this two-storey house. Where they [Abdullah’s family] have shifted to now? You must be having the address?

“As I gave them the address, they blindfolded me and took me towards Safora Chowrangi where they removed the mask from my face and took me to Abdullah’s house.

“They went into Abdullah’s room and after a brief talk with him, they took him away with them.”

Abdullah’s father said that while leaving the home, the raiders initially also took him and another of his son along them “but then they dropped us at the main gate of the house. They did not give us the reason of the raid.”

The family accused the police of non-cooperation. “I visited [Sacchal police station] multiple times but they did not register my complaint,” said the father of the journalist. “On my third visit, the officials just took my application and even did not give me a receipt of the application,” he added.

But the law enforcement agencies including police and Rangers have denied their involvement in the raid.

“I have checked out, he is not with police,” said Sindh IGP Allah Dino Khowaja.

Counter Terrorism Department (DIG) DIG Dr Sanaullah Abbasi declined Abdullah’s arrest by CTD.

A Rangers official also said the paramilitary force did not have any role in Abdullah’s abduction. “We have inquired and our troops did not detain or arrest him,” the officer claimed.

Sindh Home Minister Sohial Anwar Sayal took notice of the incident and directed DIG East to make the recovery of the missing journalist possible.

The traumatised mother of the abducted journalist had appealed the kidnappers to not harm his son. She said Abdullah has sinus problem.

Karachi Union of Journalist (KUJ) strongly condemned the incident. “We strongly condemned Abdullah’s illegal detention and we demand his immediate release,” said KUJ General Secretary Fahim Siddiqui.

“This is not the way to deal with a journalist. The law enforcers should approach the journalist body first if they suspected him of involvement in any criminal or illegal activity,” he said.

Earlier, Fahim demanded the prime minister and the chief minister to ensure immediate and safe recovery of Abdullah.

Pakistan Federal Union of Journalist (PFUJ) General Secretary Ayub Jan Sarhandi also condemned the abduction and illegal detention of the journalist. Talking to The Nation, he had urged authorities to safely recover the journalist as soon as possible.

Abdullah has been covering the political beat in the newspaper for the last three years.