Pakistani journalist Matiullah Jan, who was kidnapped from outside a public school in the heart of Islamabad, was released after 12 hours on Tuesday.
According to the reports, Matiullah Jan, who is a critic of Pakistan’s military and judiciary, was released after some uniformed men had snatched him off an Islamabad street in broad daylight. Even though it was unclear who had abducted him but it was suspected that the kidnapping was the handiwork of Pakistan’s spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
CCTV footage of journalist Matiullah Jan being taken away. Enforced disappearances are used by Pakistan as a weapon to silence dissenters. From Saleem Shahzad, Umar Cheema to Matiullah, it continues with impunity. #BringBackMatiullah pic.twitter.com/lkdeFUD3gr— Naila Inayat नायला इनायत (@nailainayat) July 21, 2020
Matiullah Jan, who works as a freelance journalist with numerous local and foreign media outlets, was kidnapped and was taken after being forced into the back of a car on Tuesday afternoon outside a school in the capital, where he had come to see his wife.
Journalist abducted by uniformed men
The CCTV footage captured showed how several men force Jan into a sedan outside the main gate.
“There were more than five people, some in civilian clothes, others in black uniforms, who forcibly picked up my husband,” his wife Kaneez Sughra said to the media.
The abduction came a day before he was set to appear before Pakistan’s top court, where he is facing contempt proceedings over a tweet which was critical of Pakistan’s judges and military. His wife had stated that Jan was being pressurised not to attend the court hearing and plead for forgiveness.
However, he was later released on late Tuesday night. “I have talked to Matiullah Jan, he is safe, alright and on his way home,” his brother confirmed his release.
Public outcry over Jan’s abduction
Following his alleged abduction, there was a massive outcry in the Pakistan and people took to social media to start a campaign to free Jan.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan had released a statement calling for Jan’s safe release. “We are deeply concerned at increasing attempts to control the media, suppress independent voices, and curb political dissent, thereby creating an environment of constant fear,” the commission said.