Journalists detained by Taliban back home
QUETTA: Pakistani journalists Saleem Shahzad and Qamar Yousufzai, who had been arrested by the Taliban in southern Afghanistan, returned home on Tuesday.The two journalists crossed into Pakistan through the border town of Chaman from Spin Buldak and reported at the FIA immigration post in the afternoon. “Both reported at the immigration post of FIA in the afternoon and we allowed them to enter Pakistan after they produced their legal travelling documents,” Akram Baloch, Incharge of the FIA immigration post at Chaman, told Dawn on telephone.
He said that the two had gone to Afghanistan on November 18 on legal documents and valid Afghan visa.
According to sources, Saleem Shahzad, a correspondent of The Star of the Dawn Group of Newspapers and the Asian Times, was later taken by some officials of intelligence agencies for questioning. However, he was soon allowed to proceed to Quetta. He left Chaman along with Qamar Yousufzai, who is associated with a Quetta daily. When this correspondent phoned Mr Shahzad in Quetta, he said he had gone to Helmand province along with Mr Yusufzai to report about Taliban’s activities.He said after reaching Bagharan, he met some Taliban and interviewed them, but after the interview, they “suddenly asked for our identity and contacted someone on telephone”. He said he was told that nobody could enter Taliban’s area without their permission.
“On their demand, I showed them all my documents, including passport and identity cards issued by the Asian Times and the Dawn Group of Newspapers. But they detained me and Qamar Yousufzai, seized our baggage and said that until clearance we would be their guests,” said Mr Shahzad. “On Nov 26, they returned and allowed us to leave. They also apologised for detaining us,” he said. About their two-day delay in reaching the Pakistan border, he said that they went to Bagharan and hired a taxi to reach for the Pakistan border, but during the journey the taxi went out of order and Mr Yousufzai fell ill.