Pakistani journalist escapes abduction bid in Islamabad
Last year, Taha Siddiqui was issued a notice by the Federal Investigation Agency to summon him for his anti-military comments.
Unknown men on Wednesday tried to kidnap Pakistani journalist Taha Siddiqui known for his critical views on the powerful military when he was on his way to the airport to board a flight to London. Taha received minor injuries as he resisted and his phone was also snatched.
Police confirmed that it has registered a complaint by the journalist. According to the complaint Taha Siddiqui who is the bureau chief of India based WION TV, was on his way to the Islamabad airport in an Uber when he was intercepted. “A car with four men holding pistols came and tried opening the door of the car. It was also accompanied by a four wheeler Toyota Vigo without a number plate. They grabbed him and tried to take him with them but Taha resisted and ran away during the scuffle and sought help, He went to the nearby police station to lodge the complaint.
Later on he tweeted from his friend and journalist Cyril Almeida’s twitter handle. ”This is Taha Siddiqui (@TahaSSiddiqui) using Cyrils a/c. I was on my way to airport today at 8:20am whn 10-12 armed men stopped my cab & forcibly tried to abduct me. I managed to escape. Safe and with police now. Looking for support in any way possible #StopEnforcedDisappearances,” Taha tweeted.
Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists protested over the incident and demanded arrest of the culprits. “We at RIUJ express serious concern over the attempted kidnapping of senior journalist Taha Siddiqui.
President of RIUJ Mubarak Zeb Khan expressed his concern over the rising serious threats to life and liberty of the journalists, “We have appealed to Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal to direct the concerned officials to investigate the incident. 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.
Last year, Taha Siddiqui was issued a notice by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to summon him for his anti-military comments.
Taha Siddiqui filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court challenging the summons and alleged that he had harassed him over the phone. He won a repirve from Islamabad High Court which asked FIA to stop harassing Taha Siddiqui.
Senior journalists immediately expressed suspicion on intelligence agencies. Journalist and writed Mohammed Hanif tweeted: “Such a tedious pattern this: are our agencies so incompetent that they can’t kidnap/ kill? How did Hamid Mir survive six bullets? Why didn’t they just kill Ahmed Noorani? You want to know how incompetent our agencies are? Just count our dead…”
Hamid Mir, who himself was attacked in Karachi in 2014 tweeted in support of Taha Siddiqui responded to the tweet. ” They tried their best to kill me followed me many kilometers I received last bullet close to hospital but they were not powerful than Allah,” he tweeted.
Taha’s friends and colleagues tweeted his pictures of torn shirt with blood stains.
Taha later came to the National Press Club in Islamabad where journalists took out a protest to condemn the abduction attempt.