Taha Siddiqui

Pak journalists living under threat for exposing ISI-jihadi groups' nexus

Aug 06, 2019

Paris, [France], Aug 6 (ANI): Pakistani journalist Taha Siddiqui, who escaped a kidnapping attempt last year in his country, still feels 'unsafe' as he continues to get threats even after one year.
He is one among many Pakistani journalists who have been targeted and hassled for exposing military's abuses in Pakistan and ISI's nexus with 'jihadi' outfits.
Siddiqui, who lives in self-imposed exile, now teaches journalism at the leading French institute SciencesPo- a digital media platform documenting censorship in South Asia.
On January 10 last year, he survived abduction and a possible assassination attempt by armed men in Islamabad. Taha blamed Pakistan army for orchestrating the attack as he had exposed military abuses in the country.
Taha, who still faces death threats, wrote recently in Washington Post, "Now, after the warning I received, I once again fear for my life. Every time I leave my apartment, enter public places or simply walk on the streets in Paris, I am paranoid about being followed. Every time I stand on the subway platform, I fear that someone may push me on the tracks at the last moment".
As per the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), since 1992, 61 journalists were killed, 34 were targeted for murder and 31 were murdered for impunity.
Sources said, to avoid embarrassment on account of some of the journalists exposing the nexus between the country's spy agency, the ISI, and the jihadi groups, ISI had to eliminate some of these journalists.
Many journalists including Taha Siddiqui have even migrated to other countries and sought asylum as their reporting has dented the international image of Pakistan.
The journalists and media houses are continuously being targeted in Pakistan with an aim to avoid the continuous expose of Pakistan Army's links to militant groups to cut nexus.
On June 16, Muhammad Bilal Khan, a journalist who ran a YouTube Channel was killed in Islamabad. Khan and his relative Ehtasham ul Haq, who arrived to meet an unidentified man after a phone call, were stabbed multiple times.
According to CPJ, "Khan had more than 19 thousand followers on Twitter and more than 54 thousand subscribers on YouTube. One of his last tweets prior to his death was critical of the Inter-Services Intelligence, the country's intelligence agency".
It said, "In his recent videos he gave political commentary on a recent speech by the prime minister and on a bill that would eliminate sectarianism in the country".
Recently, many privately owned Pakistani news channels went off the air after country's broadcast regulator, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, block broadcasts of Capital TV, 24News HD and the Abbtakk News.
The move came after the channels aired speeches on July 6 by opposition leader levelling accusations of corruption against officials. (ANI)