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Kidnapped journalist Khawar Shafiq escapes his abductors

(PPF/IFEX) - Khawar Shafiq, "Daily Waqt" correspondent in the city of Faisalabad, managed to flee from his abductors on 11 April 2009, four days after he was abducted from his village.

According to press reports, Shafiq said he was kidnapped by three men who shoved him into a car and made him sniff some liquid, after which he lost consciousness. When he regained consciousness, he found himself in a dark room and was without his cell phone, cash and other belongings.

Shafiq claimed his kidnapping was linked with his opening of a Daniel Pearl Foundation in Faisalabad. He said during his captivity, his captors asked for the addresses and details of Pakistani journalists who had been awarded fellowships by the Daniel Pearl Foundation in the US.

According to earlier press reports, Shafiq was questioned by an intelligence agency about the Centre of Interfaith Studies that he had established. Two computers in Shafiq's office were stolen a week before his abduction. In late March, the US Consulate's Principal Officer, Brian D. Hunt, inaugurated the centre and the US consulate provided 100 books on inter-faith topics.

Shafiq claimed that on 11 April, his kidnappers told him that he would be presented before the 'Sheikh', who would decide his fate. Two captors armed with pistols got him in a car and after travelling on a bumpy road for about one-and-a-half hours, the car broke down. He claimed that while his captors were busy repairing the car, he got out of the car and ran away, taking advantage of the darkness.

After running for one kilometre, he got on a bus and called his colleagues from the bus stop. Shafiq arrived in Faisalabad on 12 April, where he was reunited with his family.

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