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Was Vacationing In Northern Areas, Sajid Gondal Tells Police After ‘Recovery’

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Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Joint Director Sajid Gondal, who had gone missing last week, has reportedly told police that he was in the ‘northern areas of Pakistan for a recreational tour with his friends’.

In a statement given to police after his recovery, Gondal said he was not able to contact his family to tell them about his whereabouts because his mobile phone was off, reported 92 News. Gondal will now record his statement before a magistrate under Section 164 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

After the disappearance of four days, Gondal tweeted on Tuesday night, saying that he had returned safely. “I am back and safe, and I am thankful to all friends who were worried for me,” he had tweeted.

Gondal, who is a former journalist, went missing in Islamabad on Friday night. According to the family of the SECP official, Gondal’s car was found in front of the National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC) on Park Road, located in Chak Shahzad. The family members had said that Gondal visited a family-owned dairy farm in Chak Shahzad.

 

Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Monday criticised the authorities over their failure to recover SECP official Sajid Gondal.

During the proceedings, Justice Minallah remarked that someone ‘should accept responsibility’ for the people going missing in the federal capital, reported Dawn.

Interior Secretary Yousaf Naseem Khokhar tried to assure the court that a ‘high-level’ investigation was underway, saying after the registration of an FIR, probe has been initiated.

The IHC said the investigation officers of the Islamabad police were not even properly trained, lamenting there was not even a prosecution branch in Islamabad.

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The court also directed the secretary to inform the federal cabinet about the abduction of the SECP official. The interior secretary told the court that the prime minister will be informed and the matter will be placed before the cabinet in the next meeting.

‘Extremely alarming matter’:

On Saturday, IHC had ordered the law enforcement authorities to recover the missing government employee by Monday. The directive was given during the hearing of a habeas corpus petition filed a day earlier by Gondal’s mother Asmat Bibi. She had expressed concerns that her son may be put to mental and physical torture, saying his life may be in danger.

The court had directed that the matter be referred to the federal cabinet. “The abduction of a citizen from the capital in such a manner is extremely alarming,” remarked Justice Minallah during the hearing.

Reactions to the abduction:

Following the report of his abduction, activists and social media users have pointed fingers at the law enforcement officials for their involvement in the disappearance. They linked the abduction of Gondal with a recent story by journalist Ahmad Noorani that disclosed the asset details of Gen (r) Asim Saleem Bajwa.

Amnesty International urged the government to establish his whereabouts immediately. “Sajid Gondal, a former journalist and an official with the SECP, is missing and feared to have been disappeared. We call upon the authorities to establish his whereabouts immediately,” the rights watchdog added.

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Naya Daur