Attack on journalist Taha Siddiqui this morning must be investigated


In a statement, Secretary General Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ) Ali Raza Alvi, President National Press Club (NPC) Shakeel Anjum, former President NPC Tariq Chaudhry, and Chief Editor Dispatch News Desk (DND) news agency condemned the attempted kidnapping of Taha Siddiqui, and said that incident must be a thorough investigated.

Pakistani journalist, Taha Siddiqui known for criticising his country's military establishment, claimed on Wednesday that he had narrowly escaped being kidnapped by armed men, in an incident that came months after he complained of being harassed by security services. Siddiqui works as Indian TV channel WION's Pakistan bureau chief.

In May 2017, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) restrained the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) from harassing Taha Siddiqui who approached the court seeking protection from the investigative body.

Tweeting from senior reporter Cyril Almeida's account, Taha Siddiqui said that he was on his way to the airport today when 10-12 armed men stopped him at 8:20 AM and tried to forcibly abduct him.

"When they were trying to take me away", Mr Siddiqui said, "I wanted them to shoot me, because I don't want to be a missing person".

"Many of these journalists are familiar faces at Foreign Office briefings and have a number of years of experience before being allotted such an important news beat to cover".

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An award-winning journalist said he had escaped an abduction attempt after being assaulted by armed men in Islamabad Wednesday. He also requested support from all in any way possible through the tweet.

Siddiqui said the men hit and pushed him with their hands and threatened multiple times to shoot him.

Siddiqui said the attackers were well informed about his travel plans as they knew that "I was going to the airport". "I managed to escape", he wrote on Twitter.

"We are always very concerned over any reports of violence against journalists, in Pakistan and around the world". Siddiqui previous year filed a court petition to stop the agency from harassing him.

The country has seen enforced disappearances of journalists in the recent days. It is now ranked 139 out of 180 countries. Journalism is not a crime.

Siddiqui, who won France's highest journalism award the Albert Londres prize in 2014, appealed to the country's prime minister for help in a tweet on January 11. In November, the 2017 World Press Freedom Index, placed Pakistan among the most risky countries for journalists.