Missing journalist and friend: Media rights groups concerned by lack of government efforts -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Missing journalist and friend: Media rights groups concerned by lack of government efforts

Reporters Sans Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists, in separate statements on Friday, said they were worried about the disappearance of the Peshawar-based resident editor of Daily Express newspaper and his friend Muhammad Niaz. ”It is impossible to say if Qalandar’s disappearance is linked to his work as a journalist, but once again, it raises the issue of citizens’ protection in certain parts of the country,” said Paris-based Reporters Sans Borders. “Twenty-four days have passed since the journalist and his friend were reported missing, and an investigation into this seems to have made no progress. We expect concerted efforts by the authorities in Peshawar and Islamabad in finding them safe and sound.”

Shamim Shahid, the head of the Action Committee, ruled out the possibility that the government was involved in the journalist and his friend’s abduction, and said the circumstances suggested that he had been kidnapped for ransom. Qalandar and Niaz’s abandoned vehicle was found from Hayatabad on the same day they went missing.
In New York, the Committee to Protect Journalists said, “His colleagues believe he has been kidnapped — possibly in relation to his work as the Peshawar editor of Daily Express. We join our Pakistani colleagues in expressing growing concern over Qalandar and Niaz’s disappearance,” said Joel Simon, the CPJ executive director. “We urge the authorities to intensify their efforts to find these men.”

Colleagues told the CPJ that Qalandar and Niaz were last seen near the latter’s home in Peshawar. The CPJ said that Qalandar had not been threatened in any way before January 2, and his family initially believed criminals had kidnapped the men for ransom. “However, several weeks have passed without word from the kidnappers … the journalist’s colleagues suspect the two might have been targeted for political reasons. Daily Express Managing Editor Abid Abdullah told CPJ, “We cannot dismiss the idea that Qalandar is in government custody.”
Source: Daily Times
Date:1/28/2007