Mystery deepens over missing Pakistani journalist

Lawyer P Waytha Moorthy says someone is ‘not telling the truth’ over the disappearance of the Pakistani journalist. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The mystery over the disappearance of Pakistani journalist Syed Fawad Ali Shah has deepened with a lawyer representing his wife saying Fawad had been nabbed and probably deported while a foreign ministry source said this was not so.

Lawyer P Waytha Moorthy claimed Fawad was nabbed by Malaysian authorities at the behest of the Pakistani government despite having all the relevant papers from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

He said this was based on what an immigration officer sympathetic to the plight of Fawad’s spouse, Syeda, had revealed.

However, he added, there was no official record of the arrest in the immigration data system.

In a statement, Waytha said the question now arose whether the Malaysian authorities had colluded with their Pakistani counterparts “to put this man secretly on a flight bound for Pakistan without the knowledge of anyone”.

The former minister went on to say that “someone is not telling the truth” and called on the immigration director-general to come clean over Fawad’s disappearance.

“His wife is anxious and has undergone tremendous stress not knowing the fate of her husband.

“She has been given the runaround by both the police and the immigration department.”

Meanwhile, a source from the foreign ministry, who spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not cleared to speak to the media, told FMT that Fawad had not been detained or deported.

“The news is inaccurate, as he is still in Malaysia,” the source said, referring to FMT’s report.

“He was neither detained nor deported back to Pakistan,” said the source, who had cross-checked the matter with the police and immigration department.

A source from the immigration department, meanwhile, told FMT: “I don’t have the clearance to discuss that matter, but you can probably get more details from someone in a higher position.”

Fawad, 41, who holds a UNHCR refugee card, had sought asylum from the agency over alleged persecution in Pakistan due to articles published in several English dailies there related to government corruption.

He has been missing since August and his wife, Syeda, is in Kuala Lumpur looking for him. A missing person’s report has also been lodged.

Fawad came to Malaysia in 2011 through Thailand and was later granted refugee status by UNHCR. His troubles began three years earlier when he decided to investigate cases of missing persons.

In 2010, he was detained for 18 days and interviewed by several individuals said to be Pakistani intelligence officials.

Fawad was eventually released with a warning — stop writing about missing persons and give up journalism.