Mon, Jun 11, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Pakistani military denies role in writer’s abduction

Reuters, ISLAMABAD

The Pakistan Armed Forces on Saturday denied any involvement in the abduction of a writer and rights campaigner Gul Bukhari, who was kidnapped for several hours this week.

Bukhari, a dual Pakistani-British national, has been a vocal critic of the powerful Pakistani military and its alleged meddling in politics on social media and in her articles in the run-up to the July 25 general election.

“We have nothing to do with it. I think this incident should be investigated thoroughly,” army Inter-Services Public Relations Director-General Major General Asif Ghafoor said.

He said he had checked with every intelligence agency working for the army whether Bukhari had been detained by them shortly after the abduction was reported.

Bukhari was on Tuesday last week on her way to record a television program late in Lahore when her vehicle was intercepted and she was taken away by unidentified men, her husband and media colleagues said.

She has also defended former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who clashed with the military before he was last year forced out of office by the Pakistani Supreme Court.

After her release, Bukhari, herself the daughter of an army general, said on Twitter that she was well and asked for privacy.

In her first comment since her abduction, Bukhari yesterday tweeted: “Is there any shame? Any ethics, any grace? You just picked me?”

She has not named anyone.

Pakistani media organizations have alleged that censorship by the military is growing in the run-up to the election, while rights groups have denounced the kidnappings of several social media campaigners over the past year as attempts to intimidate and silence critics of the army.

Last year, five bloggers went missing for several weeks. Four were released and fled abroad, with at least two later saying that they were tortured by a state intelligence agency.

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