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Exiled Pakistani journalist for reporting forced Balochistan disappearances found dead in Sweden

Exiled Pakistani journalist for reporting forced Balochistan disappearances found dead in Sweden

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A Pakistani journalist living in exile in Sweden and who had been missing since March has been found dead in a river.

Sajid Hussain, who was granted political asylum in Sweden in 2019 after fleeing Pakistan, had been missing since 2 March. He was last seen boarding a train to Uppsala, a city 35 miles (56km) north of Stockholm. “His body was found on 23 April in the Fyris river outside Uppsala,” Jonas Eronen, a police spokesman, said.

RSF said Hussain’s controversial profile meant it could not be ruled out that he had been abducted and killed “at the behest of a Pakistani intelligence agency”. Pakistan’s foreign ministry declined to comment.

“As long as a crime cannot be excluded, there remains the risk that his death is linked to his work as a journalist,” said Erik Halkjaer, the head of the Swedish branch of Reporters without Borders (RSF).

The Guardian

Why was he in exile?

Sajid Hussain fled Pakistan in 2012 after his reporting on forced disappearances and human rights violations in the Balochistan region had resulted in the police raiding his house and interrogating his family. He also received death threats. Hussain had continued his journalism as chief editor of the Baluchistan Times, an online magazine he founded, from abroad. He wrote about drug trafficking, forced disappearances and a long-running insurgency. He had arrived in Sweden in 2018, after previously moving from the United Arab Emirates to Oman and Uganda. According to his family and friends, he was in the process of bringing his wife and two children to join him in Sweden, and had been due to start a post-graduate degree at the University of Uppsala.

Pakistan, a dangerous place for journalism

Pakistan is considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, who are regularly harassed and killed. According to the 2019 RSF press freedom index, Pakistan ranked 142 out of 180 countries.

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