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Pakistan 21 November 2006

Abducted journalist released after questioning

Reporters Without Borders said it was relieved at the release, 24 hours after he was abducted, of Dilawar Khan Wazir, a reporter for the BBC and the daily Dawn.

The journalist turned up at the BBC office in Islamabad on the evening of 21 November, minutes after being freed in a forest near the capital. Colleagues said he was in a state of shock and did not know who his captors were.

He said they had kicked and slapped him while questioning him about his work with the BBC.

"The release of Dilawar Wazir after just one day of illegal detention was achieved by the fact that so many people got involved," the worldwide press freedom organisation said. "It is vital that the authorities now find out who was responsible for this kidnapping, all the more so since it appears linked to his work as a journalist."

Just before the reporter’s release, BBC World Service Director, Nigel Chapman, wrote to the Pakistani interior minister calling on him to help find him alive.

Reporters Without Borders pointed out that Munir Mengal, one of the founders of Baloch Voice TV, who was kidnapped in Karachi on 7 April 2006, was still missing. Moreover, authorities in Islamabad refuse to make public the conclusions of two investigative commissions into the abduction and murder of reporter Hayatullah Khan.


Kidnap fears after reporter for BBC and Dawn goes missing in Islamabad

Reporters Without Borders is deeply concerned about the disappearance in Islamabad of Dilawar Khan, reporter for the Urdu-language section of the BBC World Service and the daily Dawn in the South Waziristan tribal area and fears he may have been kidnapped.

Khan went missing on 20 November 2006 after he had visited one of his brothers in Islamabad and was preparing to take a bus home to Dera Ismail Khan, south of Peshawar.

His brother, Zulfiqar Ali, said that a group of around 10 men turned up at the Islamic University of Islamabad where he is a law student and told him to accompany them. He refused and tried to contact Dilawar Khan on his mobile. A man calling himself Dr Jamshed answered Khan’s phone and said the reporter had had a terrible road accident and had been taken to hospital in the capital. Since then Khan’s phone has gone unanswered.

BBC colleagues have made checks at various hospitals in the city but have found no trace of the missing reporter. Moreover, Dr Jamshed was not known at the major hospitals.

"The Pakistani authorities must do their utmost to shed light on the disappearance of Dilawar Khan," the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

"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.

Dilawar Khan had been covering the situation in the South Waziristan tribal area for the BBC and Dawn for several years. After repeated attacks on his home and a school run by his family in Wana, the journalist moved to Dera Ismail Khan. He had recently been sent to the Bajaur tribal area to cover the Pakistani army air strike on a madrassa, or religious school.

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