Pakistani journalist Matiullah Jan set free by abductors ahead of court appearance
Observers have said it is still unclear who kidnapped him and why but all fingers point to the spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).Updated: Jul 22, 2020 09:43 IST
Pakistani journalist Matiullah Jan was released on Tuesday evening, approximately 12 hours after he was kidnapped from outside a public school in the heart of Islamabad.
Observers have said it is still unclear who kidnapped him and why but all fingers point to the spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
The decision to release Matiullah Jan may have been taken after Islamabad High Court ordered authorities to produce him before it on Wednesday morning.
Camera footage of the incident shows Jan’s abductors included plainclothesmen as well as uniformed policemen, who were travelling in four cars.
Soon after Jan dropped his wife outside the government school in Islamabad, the footage shows the other cars encircling his vehicle and taking the journalist into custody.
Jan, who is no stranger to controversy, was summoned earlier this week over an alleged tweet against judges and the judiciary.
A three-member bench of the top court headed by the chief justice is hearing the case in which he was to appear on Wednesday morning. The court in its contempt notice stated Jan in a tweet from his Twitter account on July 10 apparently used painful words against judges and the judiciary.
Last week, Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah dismissed another contempt application against Jan, saying the dignity of independent judges “is not so fragile and it can’t be harmed by a tweet.”
A number of journalists and media associations had voiced concern about the safety of the Islamabad-based reporter. His abduction had also elicited comments from ministers in the Imran Khan cabinet.
Information minister Shibli Faraz had condemned the incident but at the same time told reporters that he did not have any information on who had picked up Jan.
Jan was attacked in Islamabad in 2017 but he had escaped unhurt. He was travelling from Islamabad with his children when two motorcyclists threw a rock and smashed the windscreen of his car.
Before that, Jan had said he was chased by another car at night and his windscreen was smashed in a similar attack.