ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Friday visited the residence of senior journalist Matiullah Jan who was recently recovered after being kidnapped in Islamabad.
In a related development, the journalist in his statement recorded before a magistrate said that anti-democratic forces were behind his abduction.
During the meeting with Matiullah Jan, the PPP chairman said that his kidnapping and all such incidents were against basic human rights and the Constitution of the country.
“The issues faced by the country cannot be solved until freedom of expression is protected in the country. One can agree or disagree with the point of view of Mr Matiullah Jan, but no one can usurp his right to speak and such kidnappings are done by small people,” Mr Bhutto-Zardari added.
Journalist records statement before magistrate, accuses anti-democratic forces of being behind his kidnapping
The PPP leader said that his party had always fought for the rights of journalists and freedom of expression in the country and it would continue to do so in future as well.
Mr Bhutto-Zardari said Pakistan was a democratic country and such acts of kidnapping were in fact attacks on democracy, freedom of press and human rights.
The PPP chairman said he had come to express his solidarity with Mr Jan as whatever had been done to the journalist could be done to anyone.
He praised the bravery of Mr Jan and members of his family who remained steadfast and firm on principles, adding that Mr Jan’s resolve was a treasure for this generation and generations to come.
Mr Jan, while recording his statement before the magistrate, said those who derailed the democratic system and conspired against the Constitution of Pakistan were behind his kidnapping.
He said the kidnappers initially kept him at some police station-like place and then kept moving him from one place to another. He said the kidnappers also manhandled him and kept torturing him during the illegal detention.
He said the kidnappers finally dropped him at a place near the Agriculture Department of the Punjab government.
Meanwhile, the special investigation team constituted to probe the abduction visited the venue and recovered some items, including a piece of cloth used to blindfold the senior journalist, the insulation tape put around the journalist’s mouth to keep him silent and empty water bottles, from the site.
Talking to Dawn, Matiullah Jan’s brother Advocate Shahid Akbar Abbasi said that when they suggested to the investigators to recover data from the multi-billion-rupee Safe City project, they learnt that nearly half of the CCTV cameras there were out of order.
Mr Jan was kidnapped from outside the Government Girls School G-6/3 on July 21 by some unknown people. He was, however, released after outcry of the national and international media, political leadership, civil society and diplomats. The Islamabad High Court also issued a strict order for his production by relevant authorities.
Later, the Supreme Court also took notice of his abduction and sought a report from the inspector general of Islamabad in this regard.
Published in Dawn, July 25th, 2020