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Journalist Imran Riaz Arrested from Lahore Airport on Way to Hajj

Lahore: Imran Riaz Khan, a prominent anchorperson and YouTuber was arrested early Wednesday morning at Lahore airport while preparing to depart for Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj, according to his lawyer.

On social media, Imran Riaz Khan uploaded a video and said, “I want to go for Hajj, I don’t want to leave this country. Everyone knows I will never leave this country. I want to stay in this country, but I also want to live freely.”

Imran Riaz Khan stated, “They repeatedly pick me up, sometimes make me disappear, sometimes file cases against me. I have spent the last one and a half months in great distress. I wanted to go for Hajj in 2022; they arrested me. Then in 2023, I wanted to wear ihram; this year I intended to perform Hajj.”

He said, “This is the last chance for Hajj. I have been informed that there is a large number of police and rangers at the airport, and they can arrest me. Everyone is telling me not to go there.”

In this regard, he said, “In the past two months, I visited various offices, knocked on every system’s door, and told everyone that I want to go for Hajj, I have no other intention.”

Imran Riaz Khan added, “I am going to the airport and going with the intention of Hajj. I will return after performing Hajj because I have to appear in court on the 8th of next month.”

He said, “I have bought tickets five times. Hajj tickets are also non-refundable. I have also called my family from abroad, and they are also waiting for me at the airport.”

He mentioned, “You will see this video when I am not allowed to leave or when I am arrested. I know who is stopping me.”

In this regard, Imran Riaz’s lawyer, Advocate Azhar Siddique, informed that unknown persons accompanied by police apprehended Imran Riaz Khan in ihram at the airport. Advocate Azhar Sadiq added that there was a scuffle at the airport, but Imran Riaz Khan is currently on bail in all cases.

Azhar Siddique swiftly filed a petition in the Lahore High Court (LHC) seeking clarification on the FIR under which Riaz was detained. The petition highlighted that Riaz was taken into custody without being informed of the grounds for his arrest and was subsequently transported to an undisclosed location.

Concurrently, Riaz’s brother filed a separate plea in the LHC urging his immediate release from what was described as “illegal and improper custody.” This petition, scheduled for hearing before Justice Amjad Rafique, named several senior officials as respondents.

On June 3, Imran Riaz was prevented from boarding a flight at Islamabad airport for his planned Hajj pilgrimage. Subsequently, he opted to bring the issue to court for resolution.

Earlier this year, Riaz had been arrested in a corruption case involving the Dhrabi Lake contract in Chakwal. He was granted bail by a special court but was later rearrested in connection with a separate incident of violence outside PTI founder Imran Khan’s residence in Zaman Park.

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