Missing journalist recovered
PESHAWAR: Tribal political authorities on Wednesday recovered Daily Express Resident Editor Sohail Qalandar and his friend Niaz Mohammad from Bara in Khyber Agency after 53 days in captivity.
“The kidnappers kept me in a mountainous area and also tortured me. I was asked to sign an agreement to stop writing against kidnappers, smugglers and anti-state elements in NWFP and FATA,” Qalandar told a gathering of politicians, social workers, journalists and artists, who had gathered at the Peshawar Press Club to welcome him.
The kidnappers, Sohail said, had time and again asked him to guarantee that he and other journalists of Peshawar would stop highlighting the cases of kidnapping for ransom, smuggling and other anti-state activities. “I did not bow to their demands. I told the kidnappers I would not compromise on my professional duties even if it costs me my life,” he said.
Press Club Action Committee Chairman Shamim Shahid said Qalandar and his friend were sized from a house in the Shankor area with the help of Mehsud Scouts on Wednesday. However, the kidnapers fled the scene before the raid.
Qalandar and his friend had been kidnapped from Hayatabad on January 2.
APP adds: NWFP Chief Minister Akram Khan Durrani said, “We knew about the whereabouts of the kidnappers, but we did not use force to recover Qalandar because it could have put his life in danger.” He told reporters that Qalandar was kept in an area where police could not operate. However, he said the government put a lot of pressure on a tribe involved in the abduction. He also said that a strategy was being worked out to find a permanent solution to kidnapping for ransom.
Federal Information Minister Muhammad Ali Durrani told journalists in Islamabad that the government believed in the freedom of the press and was committed to protecting journalists.
Source: Daily Times