Pakistan: Journalist picked up by paramilitary forces without warrant for critical posts on Facebook

On June 25, Zafar Achakzai, a journalist working for Daily “Qudrat”, was abducted by men in plain clothes from his home in Quetta the capital of Pakistan’s restive province of Balochistan.  Achakzai’s whereabouts remain unknown though local journalists believe he was  picked up by the paramilitary Frontier Corps.

According to local journalists Achakzai was picked up for the comments he had posted on Facebook criticizing security agencies and police for the way they had arrested Majeed Khan Achakzai, a member of the provincial assembly, for killing a traffic police constable in a hit and run car accident.

The abduction of Achakzai without proper arrest warrants follows the pattern started this year for harassing bloggers and social media activists.  Earlier in the year, unidentified persons abducted six bloggers and social media activists.  Five were released after more than two weeks, though one, Samar Abbas, remains missing. The bloggers alleged they were tortured during their detention, possibly with the involvement of government agencies. No one has been held accountable for the kidnapping or alleged torture and no action has been taken by the government to investigate these cases.