Anchorperson Imran Riaz Arrested by Unidentified Individuals at Lahore Airport; PTI Demands Immediate Release

Anchorperson Imran Riaz arrested by unidentified individuals at Lahore Airport. PTI calls for immediate release, condemning the act as 'absolutely unacceptable.'
Anchorperson Imran Riaz Arrested by Unidentified Individuals at Lahore Airport; PTI Demands Immediate Release

Prominent anchorperson Imran Riaz was arrested at Lahore Airport by unidentified individuals, accompanied by police officers. Advocate Azhar Siddique, representing Riaz, told Dawn.com that a scuffle occurred during the arrest. Riaz, who had been granted bail in all registered cases against him, was taken to an undisclosed location without being provided with details of the arrest.


Advocate Siddique promptly filed a petition in the Lahore High Court (LHC) seeking information about the First Information Report (FIR) under which Riaz was arrested. The petition, yet to be heard by a bench, highlights that Riaz was on his way to Saudi Arabia for Haj when he was apprehended by officers in plain clothes. The plea demands that the police, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), interior secretary, and the Anti-Corruption Establishment present the FIR details.


Another petition filed by Riaz’s brother in the LHC calls for the anchorperson’s immediate release from "illegal and improper custody" and his production in court. This petition names several officials, including the Punjab inspector general and the FIA director, as respondents, alleging unlawful detention and prevention from traveling abroad.


Earlier this year, Riaz was arrested in a graft case related to the Dhrabi Lake contract in Chakwal and later released on bail. He was rearrested in connection with violence outside PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s residence.


The PTI has strongly condemned Riaz's arrest, describing it as "absolutely condemnable" and demanding his immediate release. "Is going to Haj now considered a crime in Pakistan?" the party questioned in a post on X (formerly Twitter). PTI leader Sher Afzal Marwat expressed his outrage, stating he was "at a loss of words" over the arrest.


Riaz, a YouTuber and television anchor, was previously arrested following PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s arrest on May 9, leading to nationwide protests. Despite being released on May 15, his whereabouts remained unknown for months, prompting his father to file a plea in the LHC for his recovery. The high court had repeatedly directed various agencies to locate and produce Riaz, finally achieving his release on September 25 after over four months of uncertainty.


This latest incident raises significant concerns about the state of legal and human rights protections in Pakistan, especially concerning high-profile figures and journalists.