ISLAMABAD - A third Pakistani activist who went missing earlier this month is safe, his family said on Sunday, a day after two of the other disappeared men were confirmed secure.

Aasim Saeed was among five who went missing more than two weeks ago, sparking fears of a government crackdown and resulting in protests.

"Aasim contacted us by phone on Sunday morning and told us that he is well," a relative requesting anonymity told AFP on Sunday, saying the family had been receiving threats.

But Aasim’s father told Reuters said his son was detained by "state agencies" while visiting Pakistan from Singapore, though he did not name which one. The family said that Aasim “quickly left the country fearing for his life”.

On Saturday, academic Salman Haider and another blogger whose family asked not to be named were reported safe by their families.

Two others remain unaccounted for.

The five men - who campaigned for human rights and religious freedom - went missing from various cities between January 4 and 7, triggering nationwide protests. No group has claimed responsibility.

But Human Rights Watch and other rights groups said their near simultaneous disappearances raised concerns of government involvement, which officials and intelligence sources have denied.

"These abductions bear all the hallmarks of the modus operandi of the Pakistan state," Saroop Ijaz, representative of Human Rights Watch in Pakistan told AFP.

"The release, again which is coordinated. The onus lies on the state to either come clear about what has happened or to hold the perpetrators accountable," Ijaz said.

The returned activists have not yet recounted what happened to them or where they have been the past few weeks.

Aasim, who is Singapore-based and works in the IT department of the German Merck Group, disappeared on Jan 4 while visiting Lahore.

"It was no one other than the state agencies who took him," Aasim Saeed's father, Ghulam Haider, told Reuters. He said Saeed was picked up over a social media post intelligence agencies deemed "objectionable."

"My son is not against any agency, he is not against the military or government and he is not against Islam," Haider said. "The fact that he was set free means that he has been cleared of all charges."

"The only instruction Aasim got from the agencies was that he could not give any media interviews," Haider added.

The military's media wing did not return calls or text messages seeking comment.

Ghulam Haider said Aasim returned to his house briefly on Saturday but then left quickly, and messaged the family on Sunday morning to inform them that he was safe and would call soon. He said Aasim had either returned to Singapore or was in Germany.

On the other hand, police sources told The Nation that they could not record the statement of Salman Haider on Sunday too, as his family says the recovered social activists was not in a position to record his statement.

Earlier, police had contacted the family on Saturday but Salman’s brother Zeeshan Haider had given the same reason.

According to the sources in the police, the police high ups contacted Salman Haider’s family on Sunday again but Zeeshan insisted that ‘he [Salman] is currently not in a position to give any statements to police’.

He told police officials that doctors have advised that he should only be asked to make a statement when he is ready to do so. Zeeshan also said that the family will be in touch with the law-enforcement officials and will intimate when Salman is fit to talk to police.

“Till that time, police should not take any action on my application,” he told the police high ups. It is to mention here that Salman’s brother Zeeshan is also the complainant of the case filed with police for recovery of Salman.