On November 19, 2022, Pakistan army officials detained Zameer Khan, brother of slain journalist Hayatullah Khan, in the town of Mir Ali, in northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, according to a statement by the Pakistan Press Foundation, a local press freedom group, and Ahsan Ahmad Khan, Zameer and Hayatullah Khan’s brother, who spoke with CPJ by phone.
Ahsan Ahmad told CPJ he believes authorities detained Zameer in retaliation for the family’s continued search for justice in Hayatullah’s case. Hayatullah was abducted in December 2005 after he reported that an Al-Qaeda leader had been killed by a U.S.-made missile, contradicting information released by the Pakistan government. He was found killed in June 2006, with five or six bullet wounds and one hand manacled in handcuffs typically used by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, as CPJ documented at the time.
Ahsan Ahmad said authorities have not disclosed whether charges have been filed against Zameer, and said his brother had not been provided access to a lawyer. Zameer suffers from mental illness, and his health and whereabouts remain unknown to his family despite repeated inquiries to government officials, Ahsan Ahmad said.
On September 1, Ahsan Ahmad filed a letter to the Interior Ministry, which CPJ reviewed, requesting the publication of a 2006 report on his brother’s killing. That report, created by a judicial commission at the direction of the Supreme Court to probe the circumstances surrounding Hayatullah Khan’s death, has never been released publicly, according to Ahsan Ahmad and the Pakistan Press Foundation.
In a November 11 response, Pakistan’s Ministry of Interior referred him to the Supreme Court about the request, according to a copy of that letter posted on Twitter by television talk show host Hamid Mir.
Ambreen Jan, director-general of the external publicity wing of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, did not respond to CPJ’s requests for comment sent via messaging app and email. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations, the army’s media unit, did not respond to CPJ’s emailed request for comment.
Pakistan ranked 10th on CPJ’s 2022 Global Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are murdered and the killers go free.