Reporters Without Borders today greeted with relief the news that Riaz
Mengal, a reporter on the newspaper Intikhab, succeeded in escaping from
kidnappers who abducted him on 4 October 2007 in the Khuzdar district of
The journalist told a press conference in Quetta on 26 November, a day after
his escape from his captors, that his „kidnapping was linked to articles
about trafficking of vehicles by gangsters".
He told the BBC that Atta-ur-Rehman Mengal, the son of former minister
Sardar Naseer Mengal, was implicated in his abduction „because he was part
of this illegal trade", which he had demonstrated in his investigations.
„Police seized a number of vehicles of the same type after my article
appeared and then must have given them back under pressure from the
minister‚s son," added the journalist, who was frail from his weeks in
Mengal said he had been abducted in one of the vehicles which had been
seized and then returned. He said he was beaten during his first day in
captivity and he had then been repeatedly moved from one place to another.
He had made his escape while being held in Noshaki, in a mountainous region
Journalist feared kidnapped in Balochistan
Reporters Without Borders today expressed deep concern about the disappearance of Riaz Mengal, of the newspaper Intikhab based in Khuzdar, Balochistan province in south-western Pakistan.
His family and colleagues have said they suspect a minister is implicated in his abduction.
Just before his disappearance, Mengal had written articles about mafia trafficking of stolen cars. "Riaz had received death threats after his investigations. His life was in danger," one Balochi journalist told Reporters Without Borders.
The worldwide press freedom organisation called on the authorities in Balochistan and Islamabad to do their utmost to find the journalist as quickly as possible. "The minister, Naseer Mengal, whose name has been cited in this case, should explain himself and help to find the journalist," the organisation added.
His family has laid a complaint at a police station in Khuzdar, giving the name of the minister. Police have so far no serious leads. Demonstrations calling for his release were held yesterday in Quetta and Khuzdar.
Reporters Without Borders pointed out that Munir Mengal, one of the managers of the channel Baloch Voice, has been held without trial since April 2006. The High Court in Balochistan ruled on 12 September that he was not guilty of any crime and ordered his immediate release, but police are continuing to hold him.