ISLAMABAD- A Pakistani journalist was assaulted by 10-12 armed men on Wednesday and escaped an enforced abduction attempt.
The news was shared by Siddique himself afterward using the Twitter account of Dawn News correspondent Cyril Almeida.
This is Taha Siddiqui (@TahaSSiddiqui) using Cyrils a/c. I was on my way to airport today at 8:20am whn 10-12 armed men stopped my cab & forcibly tried to abduct me. I managed to escape. Safe and with police now. Looking for support in any way possible #StopEnforcedDisappearances
— cyril almeida (@cyalm) January 10, 2018
Taha Siddique, Bureau Chief of online news website World Is One News and the country correspondent of France 24/7, was on his way to the airport when he was stopped by the assaulters. The journalist was beaten and threatened with death. Assaulters took all his belongings including his laptop, mobile phone and other documents of importance.
— Asad Hashim (@AsadHashim) January 10, 2018
According to the sources close to Taha, the journalist was on his way to the United Kingdom for a work-related tour. Siddique was working on a project and had all the data related to the project with him when he was attacked.
After Siddiqui posted his message on Twitter, messages of support from journalists started pouring in.
“Journalist community must condemn the kidnapping attempt of Taha Siddiqui with full unity, no compromise on harassment of media,” wrote Hamid Mir.
Journalist community must condemn the kidnapping attempt of @TahaSSiddiqui with full unity no compromise on harassment of media
— Hamid Mir (@HamidMirPAK) January 10, 2018
Fahad Desmukh showed his support for Taha with the hashtag #StopEnforcedDisappearances
Attempted kidnapping of journalist in the federal capital just a day after Supreme Court reprimanded Missing Persons Commission for being too slow. Someone got the wrong idea. #StopEnforcedDisappearances https://t.co/GtzTByROMN
— Fahad Desmukh (@desmukh) January 10, 2018
Rabia Mehmood tweeted, “Cyber armies are actively maligning journalist Taha Siddiqui and cruelly mocking his escape from abduction attempt earlier today”.
— Rabia Mehmood (@Rabail26) January 10, 2018
Other supporters included Kay Johnson, WION, Douglas Schorzman and the list goes on.
— Kay Johnson (@kayatrtrz) January 10, 2018
#WION’s Pakistan bureau chief @TahaSSiddiqui narrowly escaped #abduction. Taha was beaten, threatened with death and his belongings taken. #WIONJournoAssaulted #StopEnforcedDisappearanceshttps://t.co/oFFpAQpPBJ
— WION (@WIONews) January 10, 2018
— Douglas Schorzman (@DougSchorzman) January 10, 2018
— Daanika Kamal (@daanikamal) January 10, 2018
— Zara (@SweetZaraR) January 10, 2018
— DNA (@dna) January 10, 2018
Message of support from Taha’s editors at France 24 pic.twitter.com/ggzDjEm5XV
— Mighty (@mightyobvious) January 10, 2018
It’s worth mentioning that, in less than 12 months, this is the fourth case of assault on journalists in broad daylight in the capital city of Pakistan.
in June 2017, unidentified men riding in a car and a motorbike attempted to kidnap senior journalist Azaz Syed. The police took up the case and barricaded all the roads but failed to get the suspected kidnappers.
In Sep 2017, senior journalist Matiullah Jan was attacked when two motorcyclists threw a rock and smashed his car’s windscreen. He was traveling to Bhara Kahu from Islamabad with his children. No suspects were indicted.
In Oct 2017, senior journalist Ahmed Noorani was assaulted and sustained injuries when knife-wielding assailants attacked him. The Law Enforcement agencies again failed to find any suspects.
However, Pakistan is one of the worst when it comes to the safety of journalists. According to the World Press Freedom Index of Reporters Without Borders, Pakistan ranks 139 out of 180 countries.