Pakistan Journalist Escapes Assault by Gunmen

WION's Pakistan bureau chief escapes abduction after assault; says he is safe

WION's Journalist Taha Siddiqui Beaten Up By 10-12 Men, Escaped Abduction Bid In Pakistan

A Pakistani reporter working for Indian English news channel, World Is One News (WION), on Wednesday alleged that he had escaped abduction at the hands of 10-12 people who tried pulling him out of a cab.

Renowned journalist Taha Siddiqui, who heads the Pakistan bureau for an Indian news channel, claimed that he was beaten blue and black by the men but he managed to escape.

Siddiqui has been beaten and threatened with death.

"I was on my way to the airport today at 8:20 AM when 10-12 armed men stopped my cab and forcibly tried to abduct me". The journalist himself tweeted about the incident in the Twitter handle of one of his friend.

Petitioner Taha Shakeel Siddiqui had filed a plea in the high court through his counsel Asma Jahangir, requesting the court to direct the FIA to desist "from harassing citizens simply because they have expressed a view or are carrying out their professional duties".

Siddiqui spoke to Reuters from a police station where he was filing a report on the incident, and described how his taxi was stopped on the highway when another vehicle swerved, and braked suddenly in front of it. The attackers fled the scene and took with them his laptop, mobile phone, passport and other belongings.

Several activists and bloggers have disappeared after criticizing the military or advocating improved ties with India. Safe and with police now. A court a year ago ordered the federal investigation agency to stop harassing him.

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In May previous year, Siddiqui filed a formal complaint against the counter-terrorism wing of the civilian Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) after they summoned him and asked him to submit his laptop for forensic tests.

Wearing a blood-flecked shirt and muddy pants, Mr Siddiqui said that although he had "no proof" of the involvement of the intelligence agencies, he believed that the incident mirrored others.

When Siddiqui replied that his work was in the public domain and that any questions could be asked over the phone, the FIA told Siddiqui in a threatening tone and voice that it would "be better" for him to appear before it.

In a December 2017 interview with BBC, Siddiqui said that he can "hardly do any serious journalism without talking about the military, which has an extensive footprint in the country beyond its mandate".

Pakistan is ranked 139 out of 180 countries as per the World Press Freedom Index 2017 by Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) and is one the world's most risky countries for reporters.

The country has seen enforced disappearances of journalists in the recent days.

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