Pakistani Journalist Working for Indian TV Channel Narrowly Escapes Abduction

Taha Siddiqui said he was beaten up by 10-12 men in Islamabad while heading to the airport before he could escape.


A Pakistani journalist, who works as bureau chief of Indian television channel WION and reports for France24, said that he narrowly escaped being abducted by armed men in Islamabad on Jan. 10. Taha Siddiqui said that 10-12 men hit him and threatened to kill him while he was on his way to the airport.

Siddiqui jumped out the vehicle and is now safe with police, he said. The anti-establishment journalist had complained earlier that he was being harassed.

Siddiqui said he was on the main expressway to the airport in Islamabad where his taxi was stopped by the men. The buttons of his shirt were ripped off and he was muddied while he hid and crawled through a ditch in an attempt to escape.

“I was on my way to airport today at 8:20am when 10-12 armed men stopped my cab & forcibly tried to abduct me. I managed to escape. Safe and with police now,” Siddiqui posted from a friend’s Twitter account.

“Looking for support in any way possible #StopEnforcedDisappearances,” he added in the same tweet.

Journalists and others from across the world reacted to the incident.

This is the latest incident of a journalist being beaten up in Pakistan. In October 2017, Pakistani reporter Ahmed Noorani was beaten up in the middle of the day at a busy intersection in Islamabad. Cases of disappearances have been reported as well. An activist Raza Khan who promoted peace has been reported missing since the first week of December 2017.

Pakistan is fourth deadliest country in the world for journalists, according to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ). Between 1990 and 2015, at least 115 journalists and media workers were killed in Pakistan. In 2017, Pakistan ranked 139 out of 180 in the Press Freedom Index, with journalists often citing the clampdown on press freedom from the government and the threats from militants while they do their job.

Prominent politician Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), had said on the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists (Nov. 2) that crimes against scribes shouldn’t go unpunished.

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