Pakistani female journalist Zeenat Shahzadi, who went missing from Lahore on August 2015 while tracking an Indian prisoner accused of spying on Pakistan, has been found by the Pakistani security forces.
According to Justice (Retd) Javed Iqbal, who is also the head of Pakistan’s missing person’s commission, she was kidnapped by terrorists and “enemy agencies”, and she was recovered from them. Talking to the media on Friday, he said:
“Tribal elders in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa played an important role in her recovery on Wednesday night from near the Pak-Af border.”
The reporter’s family and human rights organizations believe that she was kidnapped by Pakistani intelligence agencies because she spoke in favor of an “Indian spy”.
It must be noted that Zeenat, 25, had raised her voice against the cases of missing persons in Pakistan. To make her research stronger, she had also got in touch with Fauzia Ansari, the mother of Hamid Ansari, through social media.
Hamid Ansari is an Indian national from Mumbai who went missing in Pakistan in 2012. He is accused of entering Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa region illegally from Afghanistan to meet and marry a Pashtun girl. The Pak army arrested and charged him with espionage.
Zeenat had also filed an application with the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s human rights cell on behalf of Fauzia Ansari, thereby playing an important role in encouraging Islamabad’s Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances to investigate his case. It was a result of this action on the part of Zeenat that the security forces were bound to agree that Hamid was in their custody.
Meanwhile, Zeenat’s family had told the human rights activists while she was amiss that the security agencies had once forcibly taken her away and detained for about fours during which she was questioned about Hamid Ansari.
It may be recalled that Hamid was sent on a three-year imprisonment by Pakistan on charges of espionage. It was in 2015 – the same year Zeenat went missing as well. However, her disappearance hit the headlines when her brother, Saddam, 17, committed suicide in March 2016.
In Pakistan, intelligence agencies have been accused of silencing the voices of liberals and anyone who opposes the ISI’s act of breeding fundamentalists in the country. Many prominent civil society voices have disappeared in Pakistan. Chief of them was Salman Haider, who is believed to have been kidnapped by the military establishment and returned only when international pressure became unbearable for the military bosses.