ISLAMABAD: Parliamentarians have reached out to journalist Taha Siddiqui, who escaped an abduction attempt last week, and have assured him that they will highlight his case in the national legislature, even as police failed to make headway in the hunt for suspects involved in the incident.

According to the FIR lodged at Koral police station, the journalist claimed that he was deprived of his laptop, cell phone, hard drives, passport and other belongings after armed men forcibly stopped his taxi on the Islamabad Expressway, while he was on his way to the airport on Jan 11. The assailants beat Mr Siddiqui and tried to take him away, and he only managed to escape by running into oncoming traffic and hitching rides to a nearby police station.

Although there has been no significant development in the investigation as yet, Superintendent of Police Koral Mustafa Tanveer claimed that efforts were on to find a clue, adding that the journalist and his family had been provided security.

Meanwhile, Senator Farhatullah Babar reached out to the journalist and assured him that his plight would be taken up before the Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights.

Mr Siddiqui said that Senator Babar had contacted him and assured that the issue would be taken up. In addition, he said, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had directed MNA Nafisa Shah to take up the matter in the National Assembly.

Mr Babar confirmed that he had contacted the journalist and asked him to share details of the incident.

“Mr Siddiqui has sent me his statement, which I will share with the Committee Chairperson Nasreen Jalil, and we will raise the matter before the committee,” he said.

Talking to Dawn, Mr Siddiqui said that he had met the Koral SP, who informed him that due to ongoing construction along the Islamabad Expressway, the Safe City CCTV cameras were inoperative. However, he said that a policeman who saw him running for his life had come forward to corroborate his account. “Police has established a special team for the inquiry, which is being led by SP Tanveer. The Ministry of Interior has also taken notice of the incident and I have been provided with a police guard as well,” he said.

Published in Dawn, January 15th, 2018

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