Militants ‘Unconditionally’ Release Journalist in NW Pakistan

Posted October 13th, 2011 at 9:20 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Militants in Pakistan's northwestern tribal belt have released a local journalist they held hostage for more than two months.

Officials in North Waziristan say masked gunmen kidnapped Rehmatullah Darpakhel on August 11 in Miranshah, the tribal agency's main town. He was released Wednesday without conditions.

While no one claimed responsibility for the journalist's abduction, the area bordering Afghanistan is a hub for al-Qaida-linked and Taliban militants.

Darpakhel's release comes nearly a week after Pakistani officials found the mutilated body of a journalist in his home in the eastern city of Lahore.

Police said the body of 28-year-old Faisal Qureshi bore visible torture marks and his throat had been slit.

Qureshi's brother told the French news agency he believed his brother's murder was a “targeted killing” He said his brother had been receiving threats from unidentified people over his news reports in The London Post, an Internet publication.

The rights group Reporters Without Borders ranked Pakistan 151st out of 175 countries in its 2010 press freedom index.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists named Pakistan the most dangerous place for reporters in 2010. CPJ says at least nine reporters have been killed so far this year.

A spokesman for the United Nations human rights commissioner has criticized Pakistani authorities for failing to fully investigate any of the cases.