Published: Wed, January 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Pakistan journalist narrowly escapes 'abduction' by security forces

Pakistan journalist narrowly escapes 'abduction' by security forces

Even as news of the attempted abduction spread on Pakistani Twitter, Siddiqui was predictably ridiculed by many, who questioned how he was able to escape from a gang of 10-12 men. I managed to escape.

A prominent Pakistani journalist, a vocal critic of Pakistan's powerful military, today said he was beaten and threatened with death by almost a dozen unidentified armed men who tried to abduct him.

The journalist says he is now "safe with police", who are investigating. I was on my way to airport today at 8:20am whn 10-12 armed men stopped my cab & forcibly tried to abduct me.

Siddiqui, using the Twitter handle of Cyril Almeida, a Dawn News journalist, tweeted that he was on his way to the airport when he was almost abducted.

"This is Taha Siddiqui using Cyrils a/c. Looking for support in any way possible #StopEnforcedDisappearances", he said.

Tanveer said that Siddiqui was in a private taxi when he was stopped by armed men. The police later found the taxi, but all his belongings, including his passport and his laptop were missing.

He also referred to the frequent kidnapping of journalists in Pakistan whenever they criticised the Pakistan's military.

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The Pakistani military has so far denied playing a role in any enforced disappearances, as has the civilian government. Safe and with police now. No perpetrators of attacks on journalists in recent years have been caught and prosecuted.

The Indian news channel's journalist had previously claimed to have been harassed by Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), which had issued a him notice and asked him to appear before its counterterrorism wing, Dawn reported.

In his petition, Siddiqui had alleged that a man named Noman Bodla, who identified himself as a member of the Counter Terrorism Department of the FIA, had called him and attempted to pressure him into appearing for an "interrogation" at the FIA headquarters. After hearing the petition, the Islamabad High Court had directed the FIA to stop harassing the journalist. Three years earlier, in April 2014, senior journalist Hamid Mir, a critic of the military and host of a popular TV show "Capital Talk" on Geo TV, was shot several times by unknown gunmen in Karachi.

Pakistan is ranked 139 out of 180 countries on the World Press Freedom Index in 2017.

In a December 2017 interview with BBC, Siddiqui said that he can "hardly do any serious journalism without talking about the military, which has an extensive footprint in the country beyond its mandate".

In 2016, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said in its report that Pakistan was fourth on the list of the deadliest countries in the world for journalists, and came behind Mexico, Philippines and Iraq.

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