LAHORE: Columnist Gul Bukhari returned home, hours after she was allegedly abducted by unidentified men in Lahore late Tuesday night.
Journalist Munizae Jahangir, quoting family, confirmed Bukhari had returned home safe and sound.
"Gul Bokhari’s family confirms to me that she has returned home and is fine. The people who picked her up dropped her back again. Thank God!," she tweeted.
Gul Bokhari’s family confirms to me that she has returned home and is fine. The people who picked her up dropped her back again. Thank God !— Munizae Jahangir (@MunizaeJahangir) June 5, 2018
Gul Bokhari has returned home and is safe now. Her family thanks everyone for their support.— Munizae Jahangir (@MunizaeJahangir) June 5, 2018
Other journalists also confirmed the development on Twitter early Wednesday.
Thank God @gulbukhari is home safe and sound. Wise counsel has prevailed.— Najam Sethi (@najamsethi) June 5, 2018
Can confirm @gulbukhari has been safely returned home. Cannot give anything further at this time, appreciate your understanding. Thank you everyone.— Issam Ahmed (@IssamAhmed) June 5, 2018
According to sources, Bukhari was on her way to appear in a Waqt News TV show when persons intercepted her vehicle near Sherpao Bridge in Cantonment area. She was shifted to an undisclosed location.
Bukhari, known for her critical views against non-democratic forces, is a contributing writer at The Nation newspaper.
Concerns about freedom of expression and press censorship have grown in the country as journalists continue to face challenges including physical assault, threats, illegal detention, arrest and at times murder.
Pakistan's press freedom - a pipe dream
In its Press Freedom Index 2018, media freedom watchdog, Reporters Reporters Without Borders ranked Pakistan at 139 among 180 countries, showing no improvement in comparison to 2017.
The alleged abduction had triggered hashtag #BringBackGulBukhari on Twitter:
Gul Bokhari, a vocal critic of the military and supporter of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz political party, picked up by unknown armed gunmen in Lahore Tuesday evening. No official confirmation of her arrest so far. #Pakistan— Salman Masood (@salmanmasood) June 5, 2018
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Maryam Nawaz also expressed her concern over the incident.
Pakistan Peoples Party's Aseefa Bhutto Zardari had hoped for Bukhari's safe and sound recovery.
Shocked by reports of Gul Bukhari’s abduction. Hope and pray she is recovered safe and sound— Aseefa B Zardari (@AseefaBZ) June 5, 2018
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists denounced the ‘abduction’ and called for a prompt recovery of Bukhari.
CPJ is alarmed by reports that @gulbukhari has been abducted in Lahore. Police should do everything in their power to investigate and ensure her prompt and safe return. Pakistani journalists have seen enough tragedy. https://t.co/9ZmQcul4xp— CPJ Asia (@CPJAsia) June 5, 2018
The abduction of Gul Bukhari by unidentified people in Lahore Cantt is shocking,this is a high security area.The security agencies must ensure she is released immediately and is solely responsible for what happens to her. #freegulbukhari— AGHS Legal Aid Cell, Asma Jahangir's Law Firm (@Asma_Jahangir) June 5, 2018
Activist thanks supporters
I would like to express my deep gratitude and love to my friends, family, colleagues & supporters in civil society, journalism and politics across the board, for coming together in solidarity out of concern for my well being last night.— Gul Bukhari (@GulBukhari) June 6, 2018
Bukhari spoke out via twitter after her release expressing her appreciation for all those who joined hands for her well being including friends, family, colleagues as well as supporters in civil society and journalism.