Gul Bukhari dramatic abduction and release story: Yet another attempt to malign Pakistan security establishment

Gul Bukhari dramatic abduction and release story: Yet another attempt to malign Pakistan security establishment

*ISLAMABAD - The dramatic story type abduction and release after an hour of journalist Gul Bukhari , immediately followed by the reaction from Maryam Nawaz, Geo TV Anchors, international media campaign against military and the local anti state social media activation leaves the drama exposed.*

* The columnist and rights activist Gul Bukhari was reportedly abducted and freed early on Wednesday, two hours after being abducted she was released, her family and colleagues said.*

Gul Bukhari , who is a dual Pakistani-British national, has been an unusually vocal critic on social media in the run-up to the July 25 general election. She has also defended Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party founder Nawaz Sharif.

Bukhari was on her way to record a TV program on Tuesday evening on the late-night Waqt news show when her vehicle was intercepted in the Lahore cantonment and she was taken away, her husband and two media colleagues said.

“She is back and she is fine” Ali Nadir, Bukhari’s husband, told *Reuters*. He declined to comment further.

Earlier, Muhammad Gulsher, who is a producer on the *Waqt* news program where Bukhari appears as a guest, raised alarm about her abduction.

He told *Reuters* that Bukhari had been abducted when a group of pick-up trucks stopped her vehicle and men in plainclothes dragged her way.

“They put a black mask on her face and took her,” he said.

Bukhari’s abduction drew widespread outrage on social media, becoming the main trending topic on Twitter in Pakistan. Many activists called it part of efforts to stifle dissent.

“If true, this would be a most audacious attempt to silence a known critic. Is this Pakistan or Kim’s North Korea or Sisi’s Egypt?” tweeted Syed Talat Hussain, a prominent journalist.

Maryam Nawaz Sharif, the daughter of PML-N founder Nawaz Sharif, called the abduction “disturbing.”

“This is just cruel & worst kind of oppression. Sad day. #BringBackGulBukhari,” she tweeted earlier in the evening.

Rights groups have denounced the kidnappings of several social media activists over the past year as attempts to intimidate and silence critics.

Last year, five Pakistani bloggers went missing for several weeks before four of them were released. All four fled abroad and at least two afterwards told media that they were tortured during their disappearance.

In the run-up to the polls, media houses have complained of growing censorship.

In the past six months, Bukhari, who has 69,000 Twitter followers, has penned several critical articles for *The Nation* newspaper. *Reuters*