Prof Dr Riaz Ahmed, a political activist and head of the Applied Chemistry Department at Karachi University, who had gone missing on Friday, reached home safely on late Saturday night, an associate of Dr Ahmed confirmed to Dawn on Sunday.
Dr Ahmed had left the varsity on Friday evening but went missing at some point on his way home. The professor had made phone contact with another faculty member at around 9:45pm after which his phone was switched off.
Dr Jamil Hasan Kazmi, president of the Karachi University Teachers Society (Kuts), on Sunday said that the captors of Dr Ahmed dropped him near his home late last night.
According to Dr Jamil, he spoke to Dr Ahmed after his return. The KU professor told him that he was not harmed while in captivity, neither was he questioned by his captors. “Dr Ahmed said he knew nothing about the motives of his captors,” he said.
Following reports of Dr Ahmed going missing, activists associated with the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) had connected the incident to an alleged crackdown on sympathisers ahead of its rally scheduled for Sunday [today]. They had demanded the release of Dr Ahmed and several others allegedly detained as part of the same crackdown. Lawyer and activist Jibran Nasir had also said that Hashim Khan, who played an instrumental role in highlighting Naqeebullah Mehsud’s extrajudicial killing, was picked up for supporting PTM.
Dr Ahmed was arrested last year by the Sindh Rangers on charges of possessing a pistol, which he maintains were false and fabricated.
He was picked up minutes before he was to hold a press conference at the Karachi Press Club to demand proper treatment for the late Dr Hassan Zafar Arif, a professor and leader of Muttahida Qaumi Movement-London, who had been in police custody at that time.
Ahmed was released on bail days later.
The associate professor was also the core organiser of a seminar on Balochistan’s missing persons held at KU in 2015 after a similar session was cancelled by the Lahore University of Management Sciences.