Taha Siddiqui, WION Pakistan Bureau Chief, Escapes Abduction Attempt

Taha Siddiqui, WION Pakistan Bureau Chief, Escapes Abduction Attempt

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

A Pakistan-based journalist barely escaped an abduction attempt by 10-12 armed men on his way to the airport in Islamabad on Wednesday morning.

Siddiqui recounted the details of the kidnapping attempt in a series of tweets.

"Saale ko goli maaro (shoot him)", the men, who Taha said were armed with Kalashnikovs and pistols, shouted.

Renowned journalist Taha Siddiqui, who heads the Pakistan bureau for an Indian news channel, claimed that he was beaten blue and black by the men but he managed to escape. "Looking for support in any way possible #StopEnforcedDisappearances".

Tanveer said that Siddiqui was in a private taxi when he was stopped by armed men. He is now at the police station where he says he is safe.

"Initial probe showed that registration number of one the vehicles was fake", he said.

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The Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIJU) protested against the incident and demanded the arrest of the culprits.

Last year, the Committee to Protect Journalists said "Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency should stop harassing Taha Siddiqui", referring to the civilian agency that last year began a crackdown on online criticism of the powerful military. "We will continue to report, expose and comment on events in that country", Chaudhury said in a statement in New Delhi. 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. But it was not because of what I covered.

He had added in his petition that Siddiqui mentioned that he "was reluctant to go to the FIA Headquarters on the basis that there have been several reports in the press where such phone calls are made and once the person who is to be interrogated sets out to the FIA Headquarters, he is either picked up and disappeared or detained illegally". This is the third case in recent months when a journalist has been targeted by violent attackers while traveling by vehicle.

Siddiqui a year ago filed a court petition to stop the agency from harassing him.

In 2016, Almeida was banned from leaving the country after he had written an editorial piece in The Dawn titled "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People" where he said that instead of taking action against terrorist groups, the government and the country's military was lecturing journalists.

Pakistan routinely ranks among the world's most unsafe countries for media workers, and reporting 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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