PM learns Sohail Qalandar is missing!
PESHAWAR: Journalist Sohail Qalandar was kidnapped 40 days ago and newspapers daily carry stories of protest by journalist bodies and sympathetic politicians, traders and civil society organisations due to the government’s failure to secure his release.
But Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz was reportedly unaware of the incident, or that is the impression that senior columnist Hameed Akhtar got when he met the premier in Islamabad recently and raised the issue.
The veteran columnist wrote in an Urdu newspaper that he was surprised when the prime minister asked his military secretary to note down the name and designation of the kidnapped journalist so that the matter could be taken up with the authorities concerned. He gave the required information to the military secretary and is now waiting for the prime minister to act and ensure recovery Sohail Qalandar.
If that is indeed the case and the prime minister until then was unaware of the kidnapping of the resident editor of an Urdu daily in Peshawar, it is thus obvious that his staff didn’t include this particular news in the dossier prepared for him on a daily basis.
The prime minister being a busy man also appears to have missed the news about Sohail’s kidnapping while reading, or should we say glancing at, newspapers.
The news of Sohail’s kidnapping on January 2 from Peshawar is probably not important for the prime minister, who failed to notice it in newspapers and has more interesting and pressing things to do. But it is a question of life and death for the kidnapped journalist and his family as well as for his friend Niaz Mohammad, who was also abducted. It is also of utmost importance for his journalist colleagues, who have been protesting every day to demand his recovery, and for people from all walks of life showing solidarity with them.
Unlike the seemingly unconcerned prime minister, his Information Minister Muhammad Ali Durrani has been to Peshawar to take up the issue with the provincial authorities and press them to expedite efforts to recover Sohail.The issue was also discussed in the Senate and cabinet members who report to the prime minister assured senators the government was making every effort to secure the release of the kidnapped editor.
It is unbelievable that the cabinet members didn’t tell the prime minister that the issue had assumed importance now that opposition senators had taken it up in the Senate. It is possible that the prime minister will henceforth become actively involved in the search for Sohail. One cannot blame him for not doing anything until now because he didn’t know some journalist has been kidnapped.
Source: The News