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TV: Pakistani journalist freed after overnight detention

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KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — A Pakistani TV journalist apparently taken by force by plainclothes police in the southern port city of Karachi was released and returned home before dawn Tuesday, his TV station and colleagues said.

Nafees Naeem, whose forced disappearance drew condemnation from Pakistan’s journalists union and his colleagues, did not comment on his overnight detention. There was no official statement from the police and no confirmation as to who had taken Naeem.

He was freed after Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah late Monday said he had ordered authorities to trace and recover Naeem. His colleagues had called on the government to take action against those responsible for Naeem’s disappearance.

The Aaj News television, where Naeem is an assignment editor, said that several men in plainclothes took him into custody at a market near his home on Monday, threw him in a police vehicle and sped away.

“If any person has acted against the law, legal action should be taken against them,” the TV station said.

Naeem’s location after the arrest was unclear.

Although Pakistan’s government insists it supports freedom of speech, human rights groups often accuse Pakistan’s civil and military-backed security agencies and police of harassing and attacking journalists.

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