Unidentified armed men abduct Pakistani journalist from Islamabad

PTI, Jul 21, 2020, 9:41 PM IST

Islamabad: A senior Pakistani journalist, known for his criticism of the country’s powerful institutions, was abducted by unknown persons from Islamabad on Tuesday, his family and a government minister confirmed.

Matiullah Jan was forcibly snatched from his car in Sector G-6 area and taken towards some unknown location, according to a video circulating on social media.

“Matiullahjan, my father, has been abducted from the heart of the capital [Islamabad]. I demand he be found and the agencies behind it immediately be held responsible. God keep him safe,” according to a tweet from his account which was apparently made by his son.

Jan’s wife and brother told the media that his car was found parked outside a school with one of his mobile phones inside it.

Information Minister Shibli Faraz told the media that he had sought details of the incident from the interior ministry.

“It is our duty to protect journalists and we will try to know his whereabouts as early as possible,” he said.

A CCTV footage showed several armed men exiting at least three vehicles and putting Jan in a vehicle.

Police reached at the spot soon after the incident and started a probe, chief of Aabpara Police Station, Shaukat Mehmood, said.

Jan was critical of the government, security institutions and judiciary. The Supreme Court last week took cognizance of one of his tweets and initiated proceedings against him.

The abduction was widely criticized by politicians, rights groups and social media users. The chairperson of the Senate Committee on Human Rights and Pakistan People’s Party leader, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, tweeted that the Islamabad inspector general of police had been summoned to brief the committee about the abduction.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan also demanded the government to take immediate steps to recover the journalist.

Editor of influential newspaper Dawn, Zaffar Abbas, said it was “extremely disturbing” and “highly condemnable”. He asked the media to highlight the abduction.

Five hashtags regarding Jan’s disappearance were currently trending on Twitter in Pakistan.

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