March 9 (UPI) — A Pakistani social media activist who disappeared without a trace over a year ago has returned home safely, his family said Friday.
Samar Abbas was abducted in January 2017 — one of a number of activists in Pakistan who disappeared around that time –and wasn’t able to communicate with his family for 14 months.
Civil Progressive Alliance Pakistan, a group he leads, said he finally was able to contact relatives on Tuesday after he was released from captivity. He has since returned home.
“President of Civil progressive Alliance Pakistan Samar Abbas has safely returned home after being abducted for more than a year,” the group said in a Facebook post. “We warmly welcome Samar Abbas and wish him best of health.”
Other activists who disappeared around the same time as Abbas were Salman Haider, Waqas Goraya, Asim Saeed and Ahmed Raza Naseer — all of whom returned home safe a few weeks after they were captured.
Haider, a university professor, returned home after 20 days in captivity. His disappearance sparked protests across the country.
Goraya told the BBC after his release that he’d been tortured “beyond limits” — and described being punched, slapped and forced into stress positions during the three weeks he was held.
During their disappearance, all five of the men were accused of blasphemy for criticizing the country’s armed forces on social media.