Journalist Taha Siddiqui escapes attempted abduction; interior minister takes notice

Taha Siddiqui

Taha Siddiqui

The attacks on Taha Siddiqui and other Pakistani journalists must be immediately and effectively investigated by the authorities, Amnesty International said today. Taha Siddiqui said that 10-12 men hit him and threatened to kill him while he was on his way to the airport.

A journalist, critical of Pakistan's powerful military establishment, says he narrowly escaped abduction January 10 after armed men stopped his taxi in Islamabad.

Following his medical checkup at PIMS, Taha Siddiqui will also hold a press conference at NPC Islamabad wherein he will apprise the media as well about whatever happened to him in the morning.

"This is Taha Siddiqui using Cyrils a/c".

Siddiqui has been vocal against the attacks on Pakistani journalists and "forced disappearances" in the troubled country. Four men in plains clothes got out of the auto, carrying rifles and a pistol. He escaped by jumping out of the moving vehicle. It is a miracle that he escaped. "I jumped out and ran and was able to get into a taxi that was nearby, whose driver then floored it", he said.

He described how his taxi was stopped on the highway when another vehicle veered and braked in front of it. Superintendent of Police Dr Mustafa Tanveer confirmed that Siddiqui approached police soon after the incident. CPJ was unable to determine if police registered the FIR, which they have to do before conducting an investigation.

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The SP Rural directed police officials to take Taha Siddiqui to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) for medical checkup.

In May past year, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had issued a notice to Siddiqui, known for posting comments on social media against the military, and asked him to appear before its counterterrorism wing. The attackers took away his passport, laptop and phone.

The spokesperson for Pakistan's intelligence service did not respond to a request for comment about the attack on Siddiqui from the Associated Press.

Pakistani media reported that Islamabad Police has began investigations into the attempt of abduction. "I managed to escape", he wrote on Twitter. "I shall not be silenced", he later tweeted. Rather it was because of how my fellow journalists behaved with the mother and wife of #KulbushanJadhav when they left FO (Foreign Office) building. However, Taha refused to answer the summons unless he was formally charged, and filed a petition with the Islamabad High Court against further harassment by the authorities.

On May 24, the court had asked the FIA to stop harassing the journalist.

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