Pakistani journalist Zeenat Shahzadi allegedly kidnapped since two years, rescued

Shahzadi had disappeared en route to work

Shahzadi had disappeared en route to work

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.

Retired Justice Javed Iqbal, head of the missing persons commission, confirmed Shahzadi's return while speaking to BBC Urdu.

"Non-state actors and anti-state agencies had abducted her and she has been rescued from their custody", Iqbal said, adding that tribals from Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces have played a key role in her recovery.

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Zeenat, whose brother had committed suicide after her abduction, was reunited with her family in Lahore.

Shahzadi, who had spoken up against the disappearance of people, went missing in August 2015 while on the trail of an Indian citizen Hamid Ansari who, it was reported, had been caught by Pakistani agencies.

Shahzadi's brother Saddam Hussain had reportedly committed suicide in March a year ago.

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Ansari who has been missing since November 2012 was arrested for illegally entering Pakistan from Afghanistan to meet an online friend. "In addition to the missing persons' crisis, Pakistan ranks sixth in the Committee to Protect Journalists' list of the 20 deadliest countries for journalists in the world, and as the ninth worst country in the world for impunity for crimes against journalists", it said. At the same time, she also filed a habeas corpus petition in the Peshawar high court.

According to Zeenat's family, she had been receiving threatening phone calls asking her not to pursue Ansari's case before her alleged enforced disappearance.

It may be recalled that Hamid was sent on a three-year imprisonment by Pakistan on charges of espionage. We also asked her not to put her life at risk but she said she wanted to help Ansari out of humanity. To make her research stronger, she had also got in touch with Fauzia Ansari, the mother of Hamid Ansari, through social media. He is still in jail. According to some rights campaigners, Hamid has served his sentence and ought to be set free now.

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