Islamabad, Oct 21: A Pakistani female journalist who went missing in Lahore in August 2015 while perusing the case of an Indian prisoner accused of espionage has been found.
The 26-year-old reporter, Zeenat Shahzadi working with Daily Nai Khaber and Metro News TV channel was abducted by some unidentified men when she was on her way to work.
Shahzadi was believed to have “forcibly disappeared” while working on the case of Indian citizen Hamid Ansari who went missing in Pakistan in November 2012, news agency PTI reported.
However, after missing for more than two years, and almost presumed dead, Shahzadi was finally rescued by the security forces on Thursday night.
Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances (CIED) chief Justice Javed Iqbal (retd) said on Friday evening that Shahzadi had been rescued from an area on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border on Thursday night.
“Non-state actors and anti-state agencies had abducted her and she has been rescued from their custody,” Iqbal said, adding that tribals from Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces had played a vital role in her recovery.
“Zeenat Shahzadi on Saturday has been reunited with her family in Lahore and we are happy for her safe recovery. I am thrilled that she is home safe,” rights activist Beena Sarwar said.
Shahzadi’s brother Saddam Hussain committed suicide in March last year.
“Helping an Indian prisoner–Hamid Ansari–in Pakistan has cost us dearly. My sister is missing and my younger brother (Saddam) who was deeply attached to her hanged himself after losing hope to get reunited with her,” Salman Latif, brother of Shahzadi, had told PTI.
“My sister has not committed any crime in helping an Indian national,” he had asserted.
Two years back, Shahzadi had filed a petition with the Supreme Court’s Human Rights Cell on behalf of Fauzia Ansari, the mother of Indian national Hamid Ansari. Her prodding had forced security agencies in Pakistan to admit that Ansari was in their custody.
Ansari, who belonged to Mumbai, was arrested in 2012 for illegally entering Pakistan from Afghanistan reportedly to meet a girl he had made online. The military court sentenced him three years’ jail term on the charges of illegally entering Pakistan and ‘spying’. Currently, he is lodge at prison.
“Zeenat received threats from unidentified persons who asked her not to pursue the case anymore. We also asked her not to put her life at risk but she said she wanted to help Ansari out of humanity. When she spoke to Ansari’s mother she literally cried along with her and vowed to help,” Latif had stated, news agency PTI reported.
Human rights activists, former secretary general Human Rights Commission of Pakistan IA Rehman, have raised his voice for the release of Ansari, citing since he has served his sentence, he should be released.