The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has expressed serious concerns over a series of incidents in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan, which have seen three journalists disappear. The IFJ demands action from the administration to ensure the missing journalists are found and return home safely.
In two separate incidents on October 15, two journalists were abducted by unknown people and freed the following day. Shahnawaz Khan Tarkzai, from Mashal Radio, was taken by armed men from the Shabqadar Press Club, claiming tha they were taking him to the local police station.
Islam Gul Afridi from Akhbar-i-Khyber magazine was intercepted by armed men as he was travelling from Peshawar to Islamabad. The exact details of his abduction remain unclear. Prior to his abducted, he had been writing about the increasing number of land mine explosions in the areas.
Upon their return, Tarkazai and Afridi have not disclosed any information about their captors or the incidents.
In a third incident, Junaid Ibrahim, a freelance journalist and journalism student at the University of Swat was abducted from his house in Swat on October 14. He has not been seen since his disappearance.
The Khyber Union of Journalists and Peshawar Press Club had expressed concern about the ‘disappearances’ of media persons and demanded high-ups of security agencies to take notice of such incidents for corrective measures.
The IFJ said: “The tribal regions of Pakistan are notoriously dangerous for journalists, and these three incidents highlight the fact. Strong action needs to be taken by the local and federal governments to ensure the safety and security of the media community. Pakistan remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist, with 94 journalists killed since 2007.”