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The journalist reported the discovery of video footage showing Pakistani paramilitary soldiers accompanying police during the controversial arrest at a Karachi hotel last week of Sharif's son-in-law, Muhammad Safdar Awan (pictured).

ISLAMABAD -- A reporter working for Pakistan's private Geo News television channel who had been reported missing in the southern port city of Karachi has been found, his family and employer say.

Geo News reported that Ali Imran Syed had contacted his wife by phone to say that he had reached his mother's home in Karachi.

The reporter had told his wife that he had "returned safely" and that he hadn't been "physically harmed," the channel said.

No further details were immediately available.

Earlier, police registered Syed's disappearance as an "abduction" case without naming suspects. There have been several cases of Pakistani journalists being detained or abducted for several hours, before being released.

Syed was last seen late on October 23 when he left his home in Karachi to shop at a nearby grocery store, telling his wife he would be back in half an hour.

A day before his disappearance, he reported on the presence of paramilitary troops during the controversial arrest of a relative of Nawaz Sharif, the country's exiled former prime minister.

A day before his disappearance, Syed reported the discovery of video footage showing Pakistani paramilitary soldiers accompanying police during the controversial arrest at a Karachi hotel last week of Sharif's son-in-law, Muhammad Safdar Awan.

Awan was later released. Authorities never announced why he had been taken into custody.

Awan's arrest came a day after his wife, Maryam Nawaz, Sharif's daughter and political successor, criticized military-backed Prime Minister Imran Khan and the Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa at a protest rally.

That rally was part of an ongoing protest movement by an 11-party opposition alliance that is calling for the resignation of Khan's government and an end to the military's longtime involvement in politics.

Sharif's political party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), leads the alliance.

Geo News Karachi's managing director, Azhar Abbas, said Syed's family and the channel were in touch with both federal and regional authorities in an effort to ensure his safe return.

Complaints of attacks, intimidation, and online abuse of journalists who criticize Pakistan's powerful military have become common in recent years.

International human rights groups and Pakistani opposition parties had suggested that Syed may have been targeted by authorities in a forced disappearance. They are calling for his immediate release.

Maryam Nawaz, the deputy leader of Sharif's PML-N, earlier accused federal authorities of being behind what she said appeared to be the forced disappearance of the reporter.

"Don't earn yourself more criticism by kidnapping people and stopping them from raising their voice for the truth," she said on October 24. "This is very wrong [and] needs to stop."

Pakistan's powerful military and intelligence agencies are often accused of being responsible for enforced disappearances. They deny the allegations.

A high-ranking official in the media wing of Pakistan's military told RFE/RL on October 24 that the army was not involved in Syed's disappearance.

The official spoke to RFE/RL on condition of anonymity, saying he was not authorized to talk to the media about Syed's disappearance.

Several other Pakistani journalists have been detained in recent months, allegedly by the military's spy agency, in what is thought to be an attempt to silence critics of the military.

With reporting by Ahmad Shah of RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal, Geo News, and dpa
Australian Special Forces task group soldiers take part in a training exercise in Afghanistan. (file photo)

A journalist with Australia's national broadcaster ABC will not be charged over 2017 reports that revealed the country's involvement in potential war crimes in Afghanistan, federal police confirmed on October 15.

Daniel Oakes was facing three potential charges over a series of reports called the Afghan Files, which were based on leaked documents exposing Australian special forces troops' role in the alleged crimes. The charges were linked to obtaining classified information.

After the the Australian Federal Police (AFP) submitted evidence to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecution (CDPP), it was determined that it would not be in the public interest to charge Oakes.

"In determining whether the matter should be prosecuted, the CDPP considered a range of public interest factors, including the role of public interest journalism in Australia’s democracy," the AFP said in a statement. "The CDPP determined the public interest does not require a prosecution in the particular circumstances of this case.

"The AFP concluded that it had finalized its investigation into Oakes. The AFP made the same decision in regard to ABC journalist Sam Clark in July.

The Afghan Files led to raids on the ABC's Sydney headquarters last year and sparked calls for media law reforms to protect journalists and their sources.

The ABC on October 15 said the "whole episode has been both disappointing and disturbing."

"While we welcome this decision, we also maintain the view [that] the matter should never have gone this far," ABC Managing Director David Anderson said. "Journalists in this country should not be prosecuted for doing their jobs, and legislation needs to be changed to provide proper protection for journalists and their sources when they are acting in the public interest."

Oakes told the ABC that after waiting three years the news was a "considerable relief."

"It doesn't come as a surprise to me that it's taken this long to resolve this matter, but look, it's obviously not ideal and it has been a very difficult three years," he said.

He added that whistleblower David McBride was still facing persecution for allegedly leaking the secret defense force documents that revealed the involvement of special forces in possible unlawful killings of Afghan civilians, including children.

"I am justified in doing so because our government was breaking the law. ... If the government commits war crimes, it is the duty of an officer or a lawyer to speak up about it," McBride told dpa last year.

McBride, who served in Afghanistan as a military lawyer, is facing five charges including theft of Commonwealth property and unauthorized disclosure of information. If found guilty, he could be jailed for up to 50 years.

"The Afghan Files is factual and important reporting which exposed allegations about Australian soldiers committing war crimes in Afghanistan," Anderson said. "Its accuracy has never been challenged, and it remains online for audiences to read."

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