Pakistani spy agency ISI’s hand is being suspected in senior Baloch journalist and writer Sajid Hussain’s sudden disappearance from Sweden. Hussain’s whereabouts are unknown since March 2.
Pakistani spy agency ISI’s hand is being suspected in senior Baloch journalist and writer Sajid Hussain’s sudden disappearance from Sweden. Hussain’s whereabouts are unknown since March 2. This is first time a Baloch journalist has gone missing from abroad. Afghanistan-Pakistan experts, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told ET that the ISI could be behind his disappearance as he was a vocal critic of the Pakistan government and its agencies.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) too has expressed suspicion that a Pakistani journalist who had been missing for a month in Sweden was abducted “at the behest” of an intelligence agency in Pakistan. “Considering the recent attacks and harassment against other Pakistani journalists in Europe, we cannot ignore the possibility that his disappearance is related to his work,” Erik Halkjaer, the president of RSF’s Swedish section, said in a statement on March 30.
According to Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk, this was a case of enforced disappearance. “If you ask yourself who would have an interest in silencing a dissident journalist, the first response would have to be the Pakistani intelligence services,” Radio Free Europe quoted Bastard as saying. The Balochistan Times has “often crossed the ‘red lines’ imposed by the military establishment in Islamabad”, according to the Paris-based RSF.
Hussain, who is on exile in Sweden, is the chief editor of the Balochistan Times online magazine. Hussain is the nephew of Shaheed Ghulam Mohammad Baloch, the founder of the Baloch National Movement (BNM) and therefore part of the ideology that fought against discriminatory policies of Islamabad, according to one of experts ET spoke to. The BNM has urged Sweden to launch an investigation into his disappearance.
Hussain fled Pakistan in 2012 after receiving threats related to his reporting, and sought political asylum in Sweden in 2017, according to news reports. He has been incommunicado since he boarded a train in Stockholm on March 2 to go to Uppsala, 70 kms north of the Swedish capital, to collect the keys to his new apartment, local media reports said. He reportedly alighted from the train in Uppsala.