Barely escaped abduction attempt, claims Pakistan journalist working for Indian media house


"I was on my way to airport today at 8:20am when 10-12 armed men stopped my cab & forcibly tried to abduct me".

About a dozen men armed with rifles and revolvers pulled him out of the cab, beat him and "threatened to kill" him.

Taha Siddiqui, who reports for France 24 and is the Pakistan bureau chief of Indian television channel WION, said the attempted abduction took place while he was being driven by taxi to the airport serving the capital Islamabad and the neighboring, larger garrison city of Rawalpindi. "I managed to escape", he wrote on Twitter.

"Saale ko goli maaro (shoot him)", the men, who Taha said were armed with Kalashnikovs and pistols, shouted. Superintendent Police Dr Mustafa Tanveer confirmed that Siddiqui approached police soon after the incident.

He said he was on the main Islamabad expressway to the airport when his would-be kidnappers stopped his taxi.

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The Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIJU) protested against the incident and demanded the arrest of the culprits. He had been very critical of the way former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav's family was treated in Pakistan by fellow journalists when they came out after meeting him.

"Somedays we do a story that disgusts us". But it was not because of what I covered. The journalist Taha Chaudhry informed the SP Rural about his attempted kidnapping and filed an application to register the FIR. "And yet on Monday, when they were covering the meet-up, they seemed to have lost all sense of ethics when it comes to reporting", Taha had written in an article in "World Is One News".

This is not the first time that a journalist is becoming a victim of abduction in Pakistan.

As a Pakistani national who works for a pan-Asian news network headquartered in India, Siddiqui is quite often the subject of harassment online, sometimes at the hands of social media accounts linked to Pakistan's military-politico establishment.

The country has seen enforced disappearances of journalists in the recent days.

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In restive southwestern Balochistan province, several newspapers have also shuttered their presses for months after receiving myriad threats from militant groups, in a vivid display of the dangers journalists face from all sides.

Siddiqui previous year filed a court petition to stop the agency from harassing him. After hearing the petition, the Islamabad High Court had directed the FIA to stop harassing the journalist.

Pakistan has a long history of enforced disappearances, particularly in conflict zones near the border with Afghanistan.

Pakistan routinely ranks among the world s most risky countries for media workers, and coverage critical of the powerful military is considered a red flag, with reporters at times detained, beaten and even killed for running afoul of the security establishment.

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