Pakistani journalist abducted and the internet is furious

Brief abduction of Gul Bukhari, prominent Pakistani columnist causes social media uproar

Dubai: Journalist Gul Bukhari disappeared and the internet demands an explanation.

Gul Bukhari, a prominent and state-critiquing political analyst and journalist was briefly abducted in Lahore by unknown men, a day after the Pakistani military held a press conference on Monday, June 4, disclosing that they monitor citizens who criticise the country.

Pakistan military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor personally commented on people denouncing state policies. He said: “We have the capability to monitor social media as to who is doing what.”

With ongoing political turmoil, Pakistani journalists and social activists, including Bukhari, often turn to social media to voice their concerns. Therefore, her disappearance has caused uproar on various platforms.

A number of politicians expressed their concern online about the matter.

Maryam Nawaz Sharif, daughter of ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif, tweeted: “@MaryamNSharif: Extremely disturbing, worrisome news of @gulbukhari abduction. This is just cruel & worst kind of oppression. Sad day. #BringBackGulBukhari”

Also, Senator Sherry Rehman joined the discussion and said: “@sherryrehman: Disturbed to hear about journalist @gulbukhari’s abduction.She needs to be back home safe,the kidnappers prosecuted. No matter who is behind this,it will make Pakistan look bad.The state of a democracy is as healthy as its dissent. We must protect our critics more than our friends.”

Netizens were overall concerned for media personnel’s safety and freedom of speech in the country.

Journalist Maheen Sabeeh tweeted her worries: “@maheensbhn: Opened paper and found out that journalist @gulbukhari had been abducted. Opened Twitter and found out that she’s home now with family. Are all political journalists and activists public enemies, deemed so by the mighty establishment? Tyranny is this. #GulBukhari #Pakistan”

But there has been no official confirmation that Bukhari is back home.

Tweep @RaziDada cited similar previous incidents and said: “Lahore is turning to be a war zone for Journalists. The Nation Columnist, Blogger and TV anchor, #GulBukhari has been abducted while known journalist @AsadKharal has been attacked. Reason of both the incidents are still unknown. This is highly condemnable act.”

A member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) Marvi Sirmed, raised her voice for female reporters and Pakistan’s policies. She tweeted: “@marvisirmed: The state of Pakistan will have to produce @gulbukhari pronto in case it wants to keep claiming itself a success story of counter terrorism and having world’s number intelligence agencies. You are nothing – zero, zilch, nadir – if you can’t face a strong head[ed] woman with opinion.”

However, some tweeps were not convinced about the incident. User @Iram_Ahmad_Khan tweeted: “Anti-state activists from out of nowhere saying that #GulBukhari is abducted by Pakistani agencies. How come they know? Agencies consulted with them before/after arresting the lady? And why are they getting angry if we say that lady must be enjoying a party with her bosses?”


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