Pakistan: Amid public outcry, abducted journalist released

New York, November 21, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes today’s release of BBC reporter Dilawar Khan Wazir, who had been seized from a taxi outside Islamabad by unidentified men a day before. Khan, who was not seriously injured, turned up at the BBC’s Islamabad office this evening, the network reported.

The BBC reported that six or seven men snatched him from a taxi, bundled him into another vehicle, and blindfolded him. Khan said he was taken to an unknown location where he was questioned about sources for his coverage of Pakistan’s troubled tribal areas near the Afghan border, the BBC said. Khan said he was kicked and slapped by his captors.

Khan is a reporter for the BBC Urdu service and the daily newspaper, Dawn. He was on his way home to Dera Ismail Khan in the North West Frontier Province when he was abducted, according to the BBC office in Islamabad. Pakistani media reports said police launched a criminal case against “unknown kidnappers.”

“The public outcry that followed Dilawar Khan’s disappearance should not end now that he has been released,” said Joel Simon, CPJ’s executive director. “The disappearances and deaths of several Pakistani journalists have gone unexplained, uninvestigated, and unreported by the authorities. Police and courts must bring to justice the people who harm and intimidate journalists.”

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