Zeenat Shahzadi, a 26-year-old reporter of Daily Nai Khaber and Metro News TV channel of Pakistan, was allegedly kidnapped while she was pursuing the case of a missing Indian engineer two years ago. Pakistani officials on Friday said she has been rescued. Shahzadi had gone missing on August 19, 2015, when she was allegedly kidnapped by some unidentified men while she was en route to her office in an auto-rickshaw from her home in a populated locality of Lahore.
According to PTI, Shahzadi was believed to have ‘forcibly disappeared’ while working on the case of Indian citizen Hamid Ansari, before her abduction. Ansari had gone missing within Pakistan in November 2012.
Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal, President, Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances (CIED), said on Friday evening that Shahzadi was rescued from an area on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border on Thursday night. “Non-state actors and anti-state agencies had abducted her and she has been rescued from their custody,” Iqbal was quoted as saying. He added that tribals from Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces played a key role in her recovery.
“Zeenat Shahzadi today has been reunited with her family in Lahore and we are happy for her safe recovery. I am thrilled that she is home safe,” rights activist Beena Sarwar was quoted as saying.
After Shazadi went missing, her brother Saddam Hussain couldn’t withstand the loss. He committed suicide in March last year, making her disappearance the focus of headlines again. “Helping an Indian prisoner — Hamid Ansari — in Pakistan has cost us dearly. My sister is missing and my younger brother (Saddam) who was deeply attached to her hanged himself after losing hope to get reunited with her,” Salman Latif, brother of Shahzadi, had told PTI.
“My sister has not committed any crime in helping an Indian national,” he said.
In 2015, Shahzadi had filed an application with the Supreme Court’s Human Rights Cell on behalf of Fauzia Ansari, the mother of Indian national Hamid Ansari, who had gone missing in Pakistan since November 2012. She had secured in August 2013 a special power of attorney from Ansari’s mother. She also pursued his case in the
Peshawar High Court.
Who is Hamid Ansari
Ansari is a Mumbai resident. He was arrested in 2012 for illegally entering Pakistan from Afghanistan reportedly to meet a girl he had befriended online. According to PTI, Shahzadi had submitted an application to the CIED that ordered registration of the FIR in 2014. At the same time, she had also filed a habeas corpus petition in the Peshawar High Court.
“Zeenat received threats from unknown persons who asked her not to pursue the case anymore. We also asked her not to put her life at risk but she said she wanted to help Ansari out of humanity. When she spoke to Ansari’s mother she literally cried along with her and vowed to help,” Latif said.
A military court of Pakistan had sentenced Ansari to three years’ imprisonment on charges of illegally entering Pakistan and ‘spying’. He is still in jail.