A Pakistani journalist and rights activist who openly criticised the military and its alleged meddling in politics has been freed several hours after being abducted.
The journalist, Gul Bukhari, who is a dual Pakistani-British national, has been a vocal critic of Pakistan’s powerful military on social media and in her articles in the run-up to a July 25 general election.
She has also defended ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who clashed with the military before the Supreme Court forced him from office last year over an undeclared source of income. Bukhari was on her way to record a television programme for the Waqt news programme in the city of Lahore when her vehicle was intercepted and she was taken away by unidentified men, her husband and media colleagues said.
After her release, she said in a statement posted on Twitter by a family member that she was well, and she asked for privacy. “I would like to express my deep gratitude and love to my friends, family, colleagues & supporters in civil society, journalism and politics across the board, for coming together in solidarity in concern for my wellbeing last night,” she said.
The abduction drew widespread outrage on social media with many activists swiftly pointing the finger at the military, calling it part of efforts to stifle dissent.