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Two non-profit bodies promoting press freedom have condemned the brutal attack on a prominent journalist in Pakistan and asked authorities in the country to guarantee his safety and ensure freedom of expression. Taha Siddiqui, the Pakistani bureau chief of Indian television channel WION, yesterday said he was attacked by 10 -12 men while he was going to the airport in Rawalpindi but managed to escape before being kidnapped. Siddiqui is a vocal critic of Pakistan's powerful military. "This brazen attempt to abduct journalist Taha Siddiqui on a busy highway in broad daylight suggests the perpetrators have no fear of facing any consequences," said Steven Butler, Asia program coordinator of the Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ). "Pakistani authorities must end these lawless attacks against journalists and freedom of expression," Butler said. The CPJ urged Pakistani authorities to investigate the attempted abduction and prosecute the perpetrators. In a statement, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) called on Pakistani authorities to do whatever is necessary to guarantee the safety of Siddiqui. "This kidnap attempt is extremely worrying in a country where the lack of security for journalists and impunity for crimes of violence against them is a structural problem," said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSFs Asia-Pacific desk. "Although Siddiqui has been harassed and threatened for months, he is a courageous journalist whose investigative reporting has never hesitated to implicate the military when appropriate, although criticizing the armed forces is very dangerous for journalists in Pakistan. We urge the authorities to make every effort to guarantee his safety," he said.
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