Democracy meaningless without freedom of expression: Naveed Qamar


ISLAMABAD: While addressing the National Assemebly on Monday, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) lawmaker Naveed Qamar condemned the alleged abduction attempt on journalist Taha Siddiqui.

“Democracy, this parliament and the government becomes meaningless if journalists are not able to speak and write the truth,” Qamar said while addressing the National Assembly.

Qamar emphasized that this issue should not be dumped and there is a need to investigate who is behind such abductions. “Is it because probably there are some powerful hands behind such abductions that we don’t get to hear about this issue anywhere?” Qamar asked.

“The journalist was lucky enough to get away with the situation he was in but otherwise nobody is paying heed to journalist safety,” Qamar said.

Siddiqui lauded Qamar’s statement and said that it was brave of the PPP to come out in the parliament to support this cause. “Ultimately, this is not just the issue of a single journalist, this is about freedom of press,” Siddiqui said.

Earlier, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was the only political leader who issued a statement condemning the abduction attempt of Taha Siddiqui. “For such brazen attacks to repeatedly take place in our capital is unacceptable,” Bilawal had said in a tweet.

Siddiqui said that journalists are part of a larger community and the events of the past few years show that the whole community is under threat. “I am surprised that the judiciary, which has been active in taking up case relating to human rights, is silent over the enforced abduction of journalists,” he said.

Also Read: Witness corroborates Taha Siddiqui’s kidnapping claims

According to the First Information Report (FIR) registered by Siddiqui at the Koral Police Station, on the morning of Wednesday, January 10, he was stopped by two vehicles carrying 10 to 12 armed men on the Islamabad Expressway while he was traveling to the airport in a Careem taxi.

Meanwhile, the Islamabad Police has confirmed that another witness, a police officer, who was present at the place while Siddiqui was boarding a taxi has corroborated Siddiqui’s claims.

Police later confirmed that the cameras installed, as part of the safe city project, on that section of the highway were inactive due to the construction work going on in the area.

Siddiqui meanwhile will meet the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Kurshid Shah on Thursday morning to discuss the matter. He will also move a petition with the help of some NGOs at the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) in the coming days.