Anchorperson Imran Riaz Khan, who had been missing for over four months, has been confirmed as “safe at home,” according to Punjab Inspector General Dr. Usman Anwar on Monday. This significant development was also verified by Sialkot District Police Officer Hassan Iqbal and Riaz’s lawyer, Mian Ali Ashfaq.
Riaz, a prominent YouTuber and television anchor, was taken into custody just two days after protests erupted across the country following the arrest of PTI Chairman Imran Khan on May 9. Following his arrest, he was last seen being taken to Cantt police station and subsequently to Sialkot prison. On May 15, it was disclosed in the Lahore High Court (LHC) that Riaz had been released from jail after providing a written undertaking.
The Lahore High Court had set a deadline for the Punjab police chief to recover Riaz by September 26, following which Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti expressed growing impatience.
Riaz’s father had also petitioned the Lahore High Court for his son’s recovery. During a May 19 hearing, he became emotional, pleading for his son’s return, as the search efforts proved fruitless. The LHC chief justice subsequently ordered the police to locate and present Riaz by May 22. On that date, the LHC directed the ministries of interior and defense to fulfill their constitutional duties in recovering the anchorperson after the IG confirmed that no police department in the country had any information on his whereabouts.
On September 6, the IG promised “good news” in the coming days, leading to an extension until September 13. However, when no significant progress was reported, the IG assured the court on September 13 that the investigation was “heading in the right direction.”
On Monday, the Sialkot police took to social media platform X (formerly Twitter) to announce, “Journalist/anchor Mr. Imran Riaz Khan has been safely recovered. He is now with his family.” This news was met with jubilation across the nation.
Meanwhile, the PTI demanded the release of all political prisoners who were being held under “illegal incarceration”. “Law and common sense must prevail,” the party declared.
PTI leader Hammad Azhar expressed the nation’s joy at Riaz’s return, while lawyer Khadija Siddiqi considered this development a “positive sign.” She remarked, “The latest method of suppressing voices of dissent has evidently failed miserably! The citizens of Pakistan should not be alienated by our own state.”