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Pak journalist working for Indian news channel escapes abduction bid

IANS | New Delhi |

A Pakistani reporter working with an Indian English news channel on Wednesday alleged that 10-12 armed men tried to abduct him when he was on way to Islamabad airport but managed to escape.

The winner of France’s highest journalism award the Albert Londres prize in 2014, Taha Siddiqui said he suffered minor injuries in the scuffle. He tweeted about the incident from a fellow journalist Cyril Almeida’s Twitter account. Almeida is a known journalist working with Dawn News.

“This is Taha Siddiqui (@TahaSSiddiqui) using Cyril’s (account). I was on my way to airport at 8.20 a.m. wh(e)n 10-12 armed men stopped my cab (and) forcibly tried to abduct me. I managed to escape. Safe and with police now. Looking for support in any way possible #StopEnforcedDisappearances,” Siddiqui wrote.

He also posted on Twitter some pictures showing him wearing blood stained clothes. Siddiqui works as Indian TV channel WION’s Pakistan bureau chief.

The news channel said here that Siddiqui was on leave for three days and was on his way to the Islamabad airport in a cab early on Wednesday when another car overtook him and blocked his path.

The channel quoted him as saying that about a dozen men yanked open the left side doors of the car and tried to pull him out before he got out from the other side. He then ran across the incoming traffic, got into another cab and managed to make his getaway.

“Saale ko goli maaro,” shouted one of the men who were armed with “Kalashnikovs and pistols”, WION said. The attackers took away his passport, laptop and phone.

Siddiqui is known to be critical of Pakistan’s military establishment.

Last year, the Committee to Protect Journalists said “Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency should stop harassing Taha Siddiqui”.

Siddiqui had also criticised the heckling by the Islamabad Press Corps of Kulbhushan Jadhav’s wife and mother when they had gone to meet him in Pakistan on Christmas Day last year.

“Somedays we do a story th(a)t disgusts us. Today was one such day,” he had tweeted then.