RSF concerned over journalist's detention -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

RSF concerned over journalist’s detention

PESHAWAR: Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF), a media watchdog, has urged the Pakistani authorities to explain as to what happened to a freelance journalist, Mohammad Rashid, who is probably being held by security forces.

In a statement, the RSF said Mohammad Rashid was arrested after being held for several days by a group of Taliban in North Waziristan.“I don’t know where he is; his entire family is very much worried,” the RSF quoted his wife as saying.

“The authorities must quickly say what they know about the possible detention of the journalist, whose only apparent ‘crime’ is to have been kidnapped by the Taliban,” said the statement.

“By detaining him in this manner, the security forces may be is exposing him to new dangers as he could be accused of being an informant. This is not the first time the intelligence services have acted in this way, and it is unacceptable,” the statement added.

The security forces apparently arrested Rashid, who belongs to Rawalpindi, after being released by Taliban and left near the checkpoint in Mirzael area of the Frontier Region Bannu on January 4. Security forces personnel reportedly told his wife he would “soon be at home again.” When the RSF contacted the Pak Army spokesman Athar Abbas on January 5 and 7, he said he had ‘heard’ about the Rashid case.

His wife has appealed to the journalist community to support her efforts to get him freed. On December 28, she received his last phone call when the Taliban were still holding him.The Taliban announced they were holding Rashid on December 29, two days after he was seized by gunmen while filming in the market in Miramshah, the headquarters of North Waziristan.

Tribal journalists based in Miramshah had negotiated his release with the Taliban group led by Hafiz Gul Bahadur. The Taliban in North Waziristan have banned all journalists who are not from the area. Journalists are suspected of being spies.

Meanwhile, the wife of the missing journalist told The News by phone that military authorities had confirmed to taking Mohammad Rashid into custody for traveling to the troubled region without any prior permission. She said some military officials called her to assure her about the safety of her husband and promised he would soon join his family.

Source: The News

Date:1/14/2010