Abducted Pak journalist freed following outrage from rights groups, diplomatic community


PTI, Jul 22, 2020, 2:32 PM IST

Islamabad: Prominent Pakistani journalist Matiullah Jan has been freed, hours after he was abducted by plainclothes and uniformed personnel in the national capital, an incident that evoked strong outrage from the court, media, rights groups and the diplomatic community.

Jan is highly critical of the government and the security institutions of the country.

Abbasi said the journalist was preparing to appear in the Supreme Court on Wednesday where he was facing contempt of court proceedings for an allegedly controversial tweet.

Jan’s brother Shahid Abbasi told the media that he received a call from an unknown number to pick him up from a place in Fateh Jang area of Attock district Punjab province, which is not very far from Islamabad.

“I am back home safe & sound. God has been kind to me & my family. I am grateful to friends, national & int. journalist community, political parties, social media & rights activists, lawyers bodies, the judiciary for their quick response which made it possible,” Jan tweeted on Wednesday.

Abbasi said the captors blindfolded Jan after abducting him on Tuesday and kept him in the car for most of the time he was in their captivity.

No one has claimed responsibility for the abduction but a video revealed that about half a dozen men in plain clothes and uniform forced him to come out of his car and forcibly put him in a vehicle in the G-6 area of the capital.

The abduction created an outrage in the country as the media, right groups, politicians and diplomatic community joined to demand his safe release.

The Islamabad High Court also ordered Secretary Interior, Commissioner Islamabad and Inspector General, Islamabad to produce the journalist on Wednesday or personally appear before the court.

Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari demanded that the government ensure his safe return soon.

The matter was also taken up in the Pakistan National Assembly where opposition parties and the journalists covering the proceedings staged a walkout from the house.

Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for press freedom, expressed outrage over Jan’s abduction, the Dawn newspaper reported.

Canada’s High Commissioner to Pakistan Wendy Gilmour tweeted, “very worrying development: the role of the media in a democracy is crucial, and must be protected. I trust that @Matiullahjan919 will be soon safely reunited with his family.”

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