The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) in condemning the abduction of Abid Abdullah, the executive director of the Jang Group media house, on September 28 in Peshawar, the capital of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in northwestern Pakistan. He was released later on the same day. The IFJ demands urgent action from the Pakistan government: arrest his abductors and create a safe environment for media persons.
Abdullah was kidnapped by at least eight armed men in the early hours of September 28 while returning to his hotel after finishing his work at the Jang Group printing press in Hayatabad Industrial Estate. The abductors intercepted his car, took him and his driver hostage at gunpoint as three gunmen occupied their car.
Abdullah’s driver Zafar Hussein was released by the abductors who whisked Abdullah away in another waiting vehicle. According to Hussein, the gunmen said to Abdullah: “You are our guests, we will go to your hotel and take tea.” They also refused Abdullah’s offer of ransom money and said “other senior journalists will become our guests soon’.
Abdullah was set free later in the evening and was reported to be recovering from the trauma of the ordeal. Details on the motive behind the abduction and conditions on which he was set free were not available immediately.
Condemning the abduction of Abid Abdullah, the PFUJ said, “The incident has once again terrorised the media community. We demand the federal government to take steps to provide security to working journalists.”
Also condemning the abduction of a senior media executive, the IFJ said, “The IFJ is deeply concerned about safety of journalists in Pakistan. Media persons in Pakistan are working under very unsafe environment where attacks and threats to them are common, and the danger is highlighted by Abdullah’s abduction.”
According to IFJ records, 117 media workers have been killed in Pakistan since 1993, making it one of the most dangerous countries in the world to work as a journalist.
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