The British High Commission in Pakistan on Wednesday expressed concern over the abduction of journalist and activist Gul Bukhari, saying it is reaching out to her for consular assistance.
Bukhari, who is a dual British-Pakistani citizen, was abducted by unknown persons in Lahore on Tuesday night. Early on Wednesday, her family confirmed she was home and “fine”.
"We are very concerned at reports of Gul Bukhari’s abduction last night," the British High Commission said in a tweet. "As a dual Pakistani-British national, the British High Commission is reaching out with consular assistance."
Separately, UK Member of Parliament Mark Field, who is the minister of state for Asia and the Pacific at the UK Foreign Office, expressed relief that Bukhari, 52, had been released and reiterated the British government's commitment to freedom of expression.
Issam Ahmed, a relative of Bukhari's and a journalist with Agence France-Presse, today tweeted a message from Bukhari in which she confirmed her well-being and requested privacy.
In her message, Bukhari thanked her family, colleagues, civil society activists, journalists and others "for coming together in solidarity in concern for my well being last night".
"I am well, and would request privacy at this stage," she was quoted as saying.
According to sources, Bukhari was on her way to the Waqt TV studio on Lahore's Fatima Jinnah Road (Queen's Road) for a talk show when the vehicle she was travelling in was intercepted by unknown persons. She was subsequently abducted on Sherpao Bridge in the Cantonment area. Her family had reported her missing to the police.
Punjab Police said Bukhari had not been detained by its personnel.
The Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent organisation working to promote press freedom worldwide, had expressed alarm over Bukhari's disappearance and called on the police to ensure her prompt and safe return.
A vocal critic of the military, Bukhari is a journalist and activist who has worked in broadcast and print for several media groups in Pakistan. Bukhari is presently a contributing op-ed writer at The Nation and was set to appear as an analyst on Waqt TV show '2vs2'.