IFJ Urges Action to Locate Abducted Journalist
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) in demanding authorities in Pakistan to take swift action to locate and safely recover a senior tribal-area journalist who was abducted in North Waziristan on August 11.
Rehmatullah Dawar, who works with AAJ TV and the Urdu daily Ausaf, was abducted at a bazaar in MiranShah, the capital of the militancy-gripped agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), by unidentified men traveling in two cars with tinted windows.
The men fired shots in the air to keep people away as they bundled Dawar into one of the cars, according to reports.
The motivation for the abduction is unclear, and no one has claimed responsibility. However, Ahmadullah Ahmadi, the spokesman for Haji Gul Bahader, the most powerful militant commander in North Waziristan, condemned the abduction and said the local Taliban would assist to locate Dawar, according to the Tribal Union of Journalists (TUJ).
“The IFJ calls on the Government of Pakistan to direct its authorities not to delay in investigating the abduction of Rehmatullah Dawar and to recover him safely,” IFJ Asia-Pacific said.
“We remind the government of the failure of its authorities to take appropriate action in the case of Hayatullah Khan, who was similarly abducted in 2005. We urge that a similar failure not be permitted again.”
The abduction of Dawar reportedly has similarities with the case of Khan, who also worked with Ausaf and was abducted in North Waziristan in December 2005. His handcuffed body was found with several gunshot wounds six months later.
An investigation into Khan’s murder, conducted by Peshawar High Court Judge Mohammed Reza Khan, has never been made public, despite repeated calls from the PFUJ and international organizations according to the details given by Journalism Pakistan.
North Waziristan, bordering Afghanistan, is in the grip of an armed conflict between Pakistan security forces and militant groups believed to be associated with Al-Qaeda. The area is subject to regular strikes by US drones targeting suspected militants.