Police registers case against journalist attackers
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Police in Islamabad has registered a case against unknown men who tried to kidnap a Pakistani journalist Taha Siddiqui known for his critical views on the powerful military. Taha escaped when he stopped on his way to the airport to board a flight to London. Taha received minor injuries as he resisted and his phone, laptop and passport was left behind. He also sought police protection in a separate application.
Police confirmed that it has registered a First Information Report (FIR) against unidentified men on Thursday. According to the FIR Taha Siddiqui who works for international media (WION TV and France 24) was on his way to the Islamabad airport in a cab when he was intercepted by a vehicle. “A car with four men holding three AK-47s and a pistol blocked my cab and started to beat me up. They pushed me into my car and I saw a military vehicle passing by. I shouted for help but the attackers gestured to the vehicle to move on and it did," he said.
Rawalpindi-Islamabad Union of Journalist (RIUJ) protested over the incident and demanded arrest of the culprits. President of RIUJ Mubarak Zeb Khan expressed his concern over the rising serious threats to life and liberty of the journalists in capital Islamabad. “Freedom of press could not be suppressed through such actions. All the journalists of the country stand determined to protect and defend all journalists,” he said adding that since the FIR has been registered the Union has deferred any protest.
Last year, Taha Siddiqui was issued a notice by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to summon him for his anti-military comments.
In the past six months four investigative journalists critical of powerful military have been attacked by unknown men. None of the culprits have been identified and arrested. Cases have been registered but no progress has been made in the investigations. Interestingly attacks happened at only those places where CCTV cameras were not installed.
June 2017: Azaz Syed an investigative reporter for Geo TV and Jang was attacked when two motorcyclists threw stones on his car. His home was attacked in 2012 too. He has been writing on militancy and author of the book The Secrets of Pakistan’s War on Al Qaeda. The attackers were never identified.
June 2017: Rana Tanveer of English daily Tribune was injured as a car tried to run him over. He wrote mostly on persecution of minorities in Pakistan. His leg was fractured in the attack.
September 2017: Senior journalist and TV host Matiullah Jan’s car was attacked with bricks by two men on motorcycle who ran away after the attack. Matiullah Jan was driving the car with his children sitting with him.
October 2017: Investigative reporter Ahmed Noorani of The News daily was attacked by two persons on motorbike with iron rods. He suffered head injury but survived.