PESHAWAR: Journalists and social media activists staged a protest in Bannu on Thursday against the failure of police to register an FIR and arrest the suspects involved in alleged kidnapping and torturing of journalist Gohar Wazir over a week ago.

He filed a written complaint with Bannu City police station after he was set free by the captors and he received medical treatment at a local hospital on April 21. However, the complaint has not been converted into proper FIR so far.

Gohar Wazir, who is president of National Press Club Bannu and works with a Pashto private television channel, has claimed that he was given electric shocks by his captors during a round 30-hour illegal confinement at an unspecified location.

The protesters included local journalists and social media persons, who were holding placards and banners inscribed with different slogans and demands. They passed through different bazaars and said that the culprits should be arrested at the earliest.

Protesters demand arrest of culprits at earliest

Mr Wazir suspects involvement of some militants, believed to be pro-government in the area, in his kidnapping.

“They were asking me to record a video statement wherein I should be praising them for working for peace and development of the country,” he told Dawn.

He said when he declined to accept their demand, he was given electric shocks by them and finally when the pain became unbearable he had to record a video of their choice.

The issue of his kidnapping was also raised by different human rights and media rights organisations including Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

Member of National Assembly Mohsin Dawar had also voiced concern over his abduction and torture and demanded arrest of the culprits.

Mr Wazir, who is known for raising local issues through media, especially militancy, provision of natural gas to the people, in his complaint claimed that he had gone to the market for Eid shopping on April 19 where two suspected persons approached him.

He stated that they told him that he had to accompany them to their Markaz (centre). He added when he told them that he would visit their place two days later, they insisted that he should accompany them to a car where their three other accomplices were present.

He claimed that he was forcibly taken away in the car by those unidentified persons to an unspecific place where he was handcuffed and locked in a bathroom. He said that after around 30 hours, he was taken out of the bathroom and severely tortured.

Mr Wazir claimed that later on, he was taken out blindfolded and left somewhere. He said that he was asked to open his eyes after 10 minutes. He then boarded a passenger coach and reached Bannu. He has charged five unidentified persons for his kidnapping.

Officials at the relevant police station said that they were probing the matter from different dimensions and also trying to get any CCTV footage, if available.

Mr Wazir told Dawn that certain quarters were averse to his reporting of different issues including the peace marches, the alleged resettlement of militants and the famous sit-in staged in Janikhel.

Published in Dawn, April 28th, 2023

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