First female missing journalist returns home after two years

Pauline Gross
October 22, 2017

The rescue on Friday of a Pakistani journalist, Zeenat Shahzadi, who disappeared two years ago while working for the release of an Indian youth, Hamid Ansari, was greeted with relief and hope by his mother, Fauzia Ansari, here. She was recovered on Wednesday night from near the Pak-Afghan border, Iqbal said. "I feel relieved because somewhere I feel responsible for what she had to go through". "I was asked earlier that between Zeenat and my son whom I would want to be released first and I had said Zeenat". She was allegedly kidnapped by unidentified men while she was on her way to work in an autorickshaw from her home in Lahore on August 19, 2015.

He added that tribals from Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces played an important role in Shahzadi's rescue.

He said some non-state actors and enemy agencies were behind Shehzadi's kidnapping and that she was recovered from their custody.

Shahzadi was reported to have been abducted by Pakistani agencies. She had filed an application with the Supreme Court's Human Rights Cell on behalf of Fauzia Ansari, Hamid's mother.

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Soon after this, Zeenat had started receiving threat calls from unknown persons who told her not to pursue Ansari's case.

Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) said that the "brazen, daylight kidnapping of a young female journalist was the first of its kind in Pakistan".

Human rights activist Hina Jillani, in a 2016 interview with BBC Urdu, alleged that Shahzadi had once told her family that she had been "forcibly taken away by security agencies", detained for four hours and questioned about Hamid.

The freelance reporter, who used to also refer to herself as a "human rights activist", had been working on the case of Mumbai resident Hamid Ansari, who had disappeared in Pakistan in November 2012. Sources suggest that Ansari, a 28-year-old engineer, was in the country for love. He was arrested for illegally entering Pakistan from Afghanistan to meet a girl he had befriended online, according to reports.

Other reports by GizPress

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