Prominent Pakistani human rights activist and lawyer Jibran Nasir returned home on Friday, a day after his abduction by unidentified armed men in the southern city of Karachi, which prompted widespread outcry in the country.

On Thursday, Nasir was intercepted by armed men in two vehicles on his way home with his wife.

“I have returned home safely,” Nasir posted on Twitter, thanking those who called for his immediate release. He pledged to continue his struggle for rights of Pakistanis.

He did not mention whose custody he was in or the circumstances under which had been released.

Nasir, who contested the 2018 elections as an independent candidate, has been an outspoken critic of multiple human rights violations in the country and represented victims as a lawyer in a number of prominent cases.

Lately, he has criticised the mass arrests of leaders from former prime minister Imran Khan’s party and the move to try them in military courts following violent protests earlier month.

Rights groups say the military courts infringe on due legal process.

Leading journalists have been abducted in similar circumstances, and Pakistan’s powerful intelligence services are often suspected of intimidating critics in this way, though their involvement has rarely been proved.

Nasir’s abduction sparked widespread criticism on social media by journalists, activists and ordinary Pakistanis, and his supporters protested outside the Karachi Press club on Friday.

Earlier, Mansha Pasha, Nasir’s wife, said the two were driving home when they were intercepted by a white pickup truck and a sedan.

“After that, at least 15, probably more men in civilian clothing came and told Jibran to get out of the car,” Pasha, a well known actor, told Reuters, adding that all the men were armed, some with automatic weapons.

She said they gave no explanation at to why Nasir was being taken.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, an independent rights body, had called for Nasir to be released unharmed, and for his abductors to be held accountable.