LAHORE: Taha Siddiqui, Islamabad-based journalist who recently escaped an attempted abduction has responded to the trolls on social media who had been questioning the authenticity of the incident by saying he doesn’t care about the cynics on social media because the trolling seems to be a part of the organised campaign.
Talking to Daily Times, Siddiqui said the attacks on social media appear to be from the same accounts who ‘are handled by the people who are perhaps activated to do propaganda’.
He said he’s being mocked on the social media for what happened to him and people are posting memes and caricature to express their cynicism on the incident. He added that he isn’t concerned about the trolls because he has support from sensible journalist community who see his ordeal.
‘These are the same people who run organised campaigns to discredit other people’, he said, adding that ‘if you see closely, these are the same people who mocked Malala, Hamid Mir and more recently Ahmad Noorani after they were attacked.’
Siddiqui said he isn’t concerned even if some senior journalists such as Rauf Klasra have joined the bandwagon of those mocking me because he has the support of journalist community who is well aware of attempts to silence journalists. He added that the organisations he works for are also supporting him.
He said a witness, Mashal Butt, has come forth confirming the incident and hoped that more witness will come forth and corroborate what happened with him.
When asked about some of the meanest tweets that compare him with a ‘Bollywood hero’ and said it was too good to be true to escape almost a dozen armed men, he laughed a bit and said he doesn’t want to respond to such trolls.
Talking about the development in case after more than 80 hours since the incident, Taha said his complaint was converted into an FIR the following day and that a committee has been formed. He said he has been informed that there hasn’t been any clue about the people behind this attempted abduction so far.
Siddiqui said the civil authorities are cooperating fully and are constantly in touch. He said the police officials have had a detailed interview with him and also spoke to his family members but haven’t been able to find any clue yet.
Commenting on non-functional CCTV cameras in the area, Taha said he doesn’t believe this was a coincident that the incident took place at such an area. ‘Who would have knowledge of areas where the surveillance cameras are not working?’ he asked. ‘Certainly not us.’
Talking about his course of action, he said he’s getting legal formalities done with the help of his lawyer, adding that he has been assured parliamentary support and that the relevant quarters of the civilian government are in touch with him.
The journalist said he’s been provided with security and that he is accompanied by police guards where he travels. He said he doesn’t know what his line of action would be if such an incident happens again because he doesn’t even have his passport with him.
‘My documents including my passport and my suitcase were taken from me’ he said. ‘The only thing that didn’t get taken was me’.
Published in Daily Times, January 14th 2018.