Our missing editor’s case

Prominent journalist and Chief Editor Balochistan Times Sajid Hussain has been missing from Uppsala, Sweden, since March 2 of this year. What is worrying is that the Swedish police have as of yet failed to make a breakthrough in the case even after a month of his disappearance. His family, friends and journalist unions have rightly demanded that the police speed up their efforts to find him.

Sajid Hussain is a well-known journalist with an extensive body of work on drug trafficking, religious extremism and human rights abuses in Pakistan. His focus was on insurgency-hit Balochistan and his writings were often critical of the state’s high-handed policies. He felt threatened because of his journalistic work and applied for asylum in Sweden, which acknowledged the threats to his life and granted him protection late last year. So the fears that he might be abducted are well-grounded.

However, one thing should be made clear here is that his family at this stage is not directly accusing anyone and the Balochistan Times team can understand that. We suspect foul play but are of the opinion that only the Swedish police can find out for sure where he is and what has happened to him. That said, what makes us concerned is that it’s been more than a month since his disappearance and we had expected the police would find some leads by now and share it with his family.

We as a news outlet covering a volatile region, Balochistan, believe it is a very bad omen for the freedom of the press and the right of expression if a senior Baloch journalist goes missing without trace in Europe. This is unprecedented. The true causes of Sajid Hussain’s disappearance have to be unveiled. His family, friends, and colleagues deserve an answer. We once again urge the government of Sweden to make sure he is found soon.