Yesterday one of BBC Urdu Service’s correspondents, Dilawar Ali Khan Wazir, went ‘missing’ in extremely suspicious circumstances.
As today’s Nation newspaper reported:
I sincerely hope for Dilawar Ali Khan Wazir’s family, friends, and colleagues (and for all believers in human rights and press freedom) that he is found safe, sound and healthy in the shortest of possible time. Considering his 15-year-old brother was kidnapped and shot dead in August, this must be a particularly harrowing time for his family.
The 38-year old Dilawar Ali Wazir works for BBC-Urdu Service and came to Islamabad to see his brother, Zulfiqar Ali Wazir…[and] was last seen leaving the university hostel in a cab for Dera Ismail Khan.
The mysterious disappearance of Dilawar surfaced when some plain-clothed persons, apparently operatives of some secret agency, reached the University hostel and asked for his brother Zulfiqar, said Ejaz Mehr, a colleague of the missing journalist at BBC. The suspected visitors initially met friends of Zulfiqar and told them that Dilawar has been injured in an accident near Peerwadhai and taken to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Mehr added.
However, the younger Wazir and his friends decided not to accompany the visitors and verify the facts themselves.
After refusing to accompany the visitors, Zulfiqar tried to contact his brother on his mobile phone but the call was attended by someone else, identifying himself as Dr Jamshed at PIMS. This person also stated that Dilawar Khan Wazir was in PIMS after being injured in the accident.
However, when the friends of Zulfiqar Ali Wazir and Ejaz Mehr reached PIMS neither Dilawar Khan Wazir was found inside nor any one with the name of Dr Jamshed could be spotted.
A hospital worker told Ejaz Mehr that there was no doctor in the hospital with such name.
According to IFEX Dilawar had recently returned from covering the controversial air strike on Chingai madrrassa in the Bajaur tribal. Adding:
"Even if one cannot rule out the possibility that the journalist, traumatised by the recent murder of his younger brother, did have an accident, the circumstances of his disappearance lead us to fear he was abducted. We fear he could be the latest victim of kidnappings of reporters like that of Hayatullah Khan a year ago," the organisation added.Things aren’t particularly good for journalists in Pakistan right now. Even today’s
International Herald Tribune notes that: 'Numerous Pakistan journalists have vanished and been killed after apparently covering topics sensitive to the government and pro-Taliban militants.'
Your Blogger suggests that for those that who ramble and bluster about the healthy state of press freedom under Musharraf, it is time to shut up.
Reporters Without Borders report