Monday, April 15, 2024

Pakistani journalist Matiullah Jan ‘abducted’ a day before court appearance


Islamabad, July 21: The Islamabad High Court has ordered the relevant authorities to produce abducted journalist Matiullah Jan before it on Wednesday morning, local media reported on Tuesday. Jan was kidnapped from outside a local school on Tuesday morning, one day before he was to appear before Pakistan’s Supreme Court on a contempt of court notice.
Camera footage of the incident shows that Jan’s abductors included plainclothesmen as well as uniformed policemen who were travelling in four cars. Soon after Matiullah Jan dropped his wife outside the government school in Islamabad, the camera shows cars encircling his car and taking the journalist into custody.
Earlier, Jan, who is no stranger to controversy, was summoned over an alleged tweet against judges and the judiciary.
A three-member bench of the apex court headed by the chief justice is hearing the case. The court in its contempt notice stated that Matiullah 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 (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah dismissed another contempt application against Matiullah Jan, saying that the dignity of independent judges “is not so fragile and it can’t be harmed by a tweet.”
In the court order, Justice Minalla noted: “The dignity of a judge or a court is not dependent or resorting to the law of contempt. The judgments of a judge and the latter’s conduct is the measure of his or her integrity and independence.”
A number of journalists have voiced concern about the safety of the Islamabad-based reporter.
Journalists Aima Khosa in a tweet on Tuesday said that Matiuallah Jan has been taken off the air, pushed into legal cases and now abducted. “It appears there is a concerted effort to silence him,” she tweeted.
In 2017, Matiullah Jan was attacked in Islamabad. However, he escaped unhurt. He was travelling from Islamabad with his children when two motorcyclists coming from the opposite side of the road threw a rock and smashed the windscreen of his car.
Prior to that incident, he said he was chased by another car at night and his windscreen was smashed in a similar way. Those days, he said, he was working on a story along with another journalist who had also been attacked in the same fashion around the same time. (HT)