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Kidnappers threaten to kill journalist Khadija Abdul Qahar if ransom of $2 million is not paid

(PPF/IFEX) - On 18 March 2009, kidnappers holding the Canadian woman journalist, Khadija Abdul Qahar, in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal agency threatened to kill her if their demand of a $2 million ransom is not met by 30 March.

Qahar, the publisher of a Canadian web magazine, and her two Pakistani guides, Salman Khan and Zar Muhammad, were kidnapped on 11 November 2008 in the town of Miranshah, in the North Waziristan tribal agency of Pakistan that borders Afghanistan, where she was gathering material for a documentary.

A video sent to the Miranshah Press Club on 18 March showed Qahar pleading: "Please help me. Please help me . . . I request the Canadian government, human rights organizations and media associations to accept their demands and get me released otherwise they will kill me."

In previous footage released around the end of February, two militants carrying AK-47 assault rifles were shown standing behind Qahar. On that occasion, she had pointed to the two armed men saying they would kill her if their demands were not accepted.

In the new video, which has been shot in a dark room with a dagger hanging on the wall, the 55-year-old Canadian said: "I am Khadija Abdul Qahar. I am a convert to Islam. I am a Canadian national and am currently being held by the Taliban in some place near the Afghan border, either in Pakistan or Afghanistan, I am not quite sure. I was captured by the Taliban four months ago."

"The previous video was made and distributed to my embassy and the Pakistan government, NGOs and other organisations to try and meet the demands of the Taliban for my release but unfortunately nothing has happened," she added.

"We have a very short time now. I am going to be killed at any time as you can see by the dagger. I am going to be beheaded like the Polish engineer, probably by the end of the month." She was referring to the gruesome beheading of Polish geologist Piotr Stanczak by the Darra Adamkhel-based Taliban on 7 February 2009.

Sher Khan, president of the Tribal Union of Journalists in Bajaur agency, told PPF that they would discuss the matter with the Khyber Union of Journalists (KHUJ) and other media organisations on the line of action they should adopt to help the captive website publisher.

Updates Abdul Qahar (Abdul Qahaar, Beverly Giesbrecht) case: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/101122

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