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Journalist feared kidnapped following death threats in Balochistan

(RSF/IFEX) - RSF has expressed deep concern about the disappearance of Riaz Mengal, of the newspaper "Intikhab" based in Khuzdar, Balochistan province in south-western Pakistan.

His family and colleagues have said they suspect a minister is implicated in his abduction.

Just before his disappearance, Mengal had written articles about mafia trafficking of stolen cars. "Riaz had received death threats after his investigations. His life was in danger," one Balochi journalist told RSF.

The worldwide press freedom organisation called on the authorities in Balochistan and Islamabad to do their utmost to find the journalist as quickly as possible. "The minister, Naseer Mengal, whose name has been cited in this case, should explain himself and help to find the journalist," the organisation added.

His family has laid a complaint at a police station in Khuzdar, giving the name of the minister. Police so far have no serious leads. Demonstrations calling for his release were held on 9 October 2007 in Quetta and Khuzdar.

RSF pointed out that Munir Mengal, one of the managers of the channel Baloch Voice, has been held without trial since April 2006. The High Court in Balochistan ruled on 12 September that he was not guilty of any crime and ordered his immediate release, but police are continuing to hold him (see IFEX alerts of 21 September and 10 August 2007, 30 October and 12 April 2006).

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