STOCKHOLM: Sajid Hussain, a Pakistan journalist who had been missing since March in Sweden, has been found dead, Swedish police said Friday.
“His body was found on April 23 in the Fyris river outside Uppsala,” police spokesman Jonas Eronen told AFP.
Hussain, who hailed from Balochistan’s Kech district, was working part-time as a professor in Uppsala, about 60 kilometres (35 miles) north of Stockholm, when he went missing on March 2.
He came to Sweden in 2017 and secured political asylum in 2019.
Hussain was also the chief editor of the Balochistan Times, an online magazine he had set up while in Sweden, in which he wrote about drug trafficking, forced disappearances and a long-running insurgency.
“The autopsy has dispelled some of the suspicion that he was the victim of a crime,” Eronen said.
The police spokesman added that while a crime could still not be completely ruled out, Hussain’s death could equally have been the result of an accident or a suicide.
“As long as a crime cannot be excluded, there remains the risk that his death is linked to his work as a journalist,” Erik Halkjaer, head of the Swedish branch of Reporters without Borders (RSF), told AFP.
According to the RSF, Hussain was last seen getting onto a train for Uppsala in Stockholm.
The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has condemned what it described as a “brutal murder”.
In a joint statement, PFUJ President Shahzada Zulfiqar and Secretary General Nasir Zaidi urged the Swedish government to immediately probe the death.
“It is downright brutal to have happened in a country where free speech and expression is a hallmark of the government,” they said.
Disappearance shocks Pakistani journalist fraternity
After he was reported missing, PFUJ had demanded that the Swedish government ramp up its efforts to locate Hussain.
Saeed Sarbazi, Karachi Press Club’s vice-president, said at the time that journalist groups in Pakistan had strongly urged the Swedish government to deal with Hussain’s disappearance with utmost urgency. “
Hussain was our fellow journalist and news of his disappearance in Sweden has depressed the journalist community in Pakistan,” he had told The News.
Hussain had previously worked with The News and Daily Times in Karachi in various positions. Hussain and Professor Carina Jahani, a Swedish linguist, were also working on a Balochi-English translation dictionary.-Web Dek