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Journalist flees country after attempted abduction

(PPF/IFEX) - December 8, 2011 - Afnan Khan, chief reporter for the "Daily Times" newspaper, has left the country after assailants, thought to be members of the Jamaatud Dawa, attempted to abduct him on December 3, 2011 in Lahore, the capital city of Punjab province of Pakistan.

According to press reports, Khan was returning home from the office at around 2:00 a.m. when he noticed that a Land Cruiser jeep was following him. The vehicle overtook his car and stopped in front of it, signaling for Khan to stop. Two men holding pistols immediately jumped out of the vehicle and aimed their guns at the journalist. He was confused and honked his horn. Meanwhile, a car with bright lights approached on the deserted road and the assailants, sensing danger, rushed to their vehicle and drove away.

Khan called the police and told them what had happened. He asked them to send help but the help never came.

Farooq Azam, chief news editor of the "Daily Times", told PPF that Khan had been working on human rights cases and the persecution of religious minority groups. Khan had also criticised the militant Muslim organization Jamaatud Dawa for a wall-chalking and anti-India ad campaign. The banned group has called for a jihad against India, despite claiming to have a charitable organisation. Azam said that in his reports, Khan had also questioned the role of security agencies in these issues.

Azam said Khan had received repeated death threats from unknown callers, which he had informed authorities about on several occasions, but that no one had bothered to provide him with protection. Khan was very much worried about his family members, Azam said.

The Punjab Union of Journalists (PUJ) has condemned the attack and demanded that the government provide protection to journalists.

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