A Pakistan-based journalist barely escaped an abduction attempt by 10-12 armed men on his way to the airport in Islamabad on Wednesday morning.
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.
Tweeting from senior reporter Cyril Almeida's account, Taha Siddiqui said that he was on his way to the airport today when 10-12 armed men stopped him at 8:20 AM and tried to forcibly abduct him.
"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 and forcibly tried to abduct me," he added that he managed to escape and was safe and with police now. (sic)"
He ended his tweet with support 'in any way possible' and added the #StopEnforcedDisappearances at the end.
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
The country has seen enforced disappearances of journalists in the recent days. According to a report published by the United Nation's Press Freedom Index, Pakistan is consistently ranked low in the index. It is currently ranked 139 out of 180 countries.
The Indian news channel's journalist had previously claimed to have been harassed by Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), which had issued a him notice and asked him to appear before its counterterrorism wing, Dawn reported.
According to the report, Siddiqui was reluctant to appear at the FIA headquarters in fear of harassment during interrogation.
After the gruesome incident, another senior journalist tweeted that 'it was a miracle that he (Siddiqui) escaped'.
"With @TahaSSiddiqui right now. It is a miracle that he escaped. He was beaten, threatened with death and his belongings taken.This is unacceptable. Journalism is not a crime. “
Hashim also tweeted a series of images, which showed the worrisome condition of the scribe after the beating.
Taha Siddiqui, a Pakistani journalist, was beaten and threatened, and only escaped by running through oncoming traffic. pic.twitter.com/odsasHDa85— Asad Hashim (@AsadHashim) January 10, 2018
The Islamabad police has confirmed that Siddiqui was piled into a car by the armed men but managed to escape by jumping out of the moving vehicle. Superintendent Police Dr Mustafa Tanveer confirmed that Siddiqui approached police soon after the incident.