In Pakistan, reporter goes missing following threats

New York, October 11, 2007—The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned for the safety of missing Pakistani journalist Riaz Mengal, a reporter for the regional newspaper Intikhab in Khuzdar, in the southwestern province of Baluchistan.

Mengal did not return home on October 4 and has not been seen since, according to a CPJ source and published reports. He had been receiving threats urging him to stop pursuing his investigation into the stolen vehicle trade, those sources said.

“We urge the authorities in Baluchistan to investigate this case and press for Mengal’s early recovery,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “Disappearance and abduction represent increasing risks for journalists working in Pakistan, and warrant immediate official response.”  

Local journalists gathered this week in Khuzdar and in the provincial capital, Quetta, in demonstrations calling on the government to find Mengal, local news reports said. The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists also issued a statement condemning what it called an abduction. Mengal is senior vice president of the Khuzdar Press Club.

In another Baluchistan case, Menir Mengal has been missing since April 4. CPJ has expressed concern that Mengal, an accountant, is being held for his involvement in a planned Baluch-language television program.