Rights activists, media persons welcome return of abducted Pakistani woman journalist

Oct 23, 2017, 02:14
Rights activists, media persons welcome return of abducted Pakistani woman journalist

Senior Pakistani journalist Beena Sarwar, who had been lobbying for Zeenat's release, had told The Indian Express a year ago, "She seems to see herself as a human rights crusader and social activist, inspired by rights activists like Asma Jahangir".

According to Justice (r) Javed Iqbal, Shahzadi was recovered from the Pakistan-Afghanistan border by security forces.

He added that tribals from Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces played an important role in Shahzadi's rescue.

Shahzadi's family had once told human rights activists that before her abduction she had been forcibly taken away by the security agencies, detained for four hours and questioned about Hamid Ansari.

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Pakistani journalist Zeenat Shahzadi who mysteriously went missing while tracing an "Indian spy" in Lahore in 2015, has returned home after two years on Friday.

According to Zeenat's family, she had been receiving threatening phone calls asking her not to pursue Ansari's case before her alleged enforced disappearance.

As there was no news of Hamid, Zeenat, who worked as a journalist for a Lahore-based television channel, had filed an application with the Human Rights Cell of the Pakistan Supreme Court on behalf of Prof Ansari.

Back in Mumbai, Fauzia said that she was delighted to hear about her release.

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Shahzadi's disappearance once again came to the fore in 2016 when news broke that her brother had committed suicide.

Many believe the role of Zeenat in making Pakistani authorities acknowledge that Hamid was present in a Pakistani jail was one of the key reasons for her disappearance in 2015.

The freelance reporter, who used to also refer to herself as a "human rights activist", had been working on the case of Mumbai resident Hamid Ansari, who had disappeared in Pakistan in November 2012.

She recalled the effort and integrity displayed by Ms. Shahzadi. In her attempts to track down and Indian national, Hamid Ansari who had been embroiled in espionage allegations, Shahzadi had managed to get in touch with Ansari's mother, Fauzia Ansari. "In addition to the missing persons' crisis, Pakistan ranks sixth in the Committee to Protect Journalists' list of the 20 deadliest countries for journalists in the world, and as the ninth worst country in the world for impunity for crimes against journalists", it said.

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