If you’ve tuned into the news lately, you may have seen the name, ‘Gul Bukhari’ popping up everywhere. Trending on social media and on online publications all over the web and country, we thought we would fill you all in on who she is and why she’s been in the news lately.
Pakistani journalist and civil rights activist, Gul Bukhari was allegedly abducted from her home in Lahore and returned several hours later, under mysterious circumstances
A #Pakistani journalist #GulBukhari and rights activist who openly criticized the military and its alleged meddling in politics was freed early on Wednesday, several hours after being abducted, her family and colleagues saidhttps://t.co/xfAnpnmzTm #Lahore #Islamabad pic.twitter.com/3ns0Ok2peH
— Arab News Pakistan (@arabnewspk) June 6, 2018
A columnist for The Nation, Gul Bukhari is a Pakistani journalist based in Lahore. Bukhari has been known for writing outspoken criticism for the Pakistani Army, and specifically, it’s intervention in our country’s politics.
Late night on Tuesday, Twitter began reporting the incident when it became known that Bukhari had been abducted from her home in Lahore.
Waqt TV driver was bringing @gulbukhari to channel office for 11pm show when intercepted by 4-6 double cabins. They asked Gul to come out and bundled her in the double cabin blindfolded, according to @Gul_sher112 who produces show attended by Gul. #GulBukhari
— Umar Cheema (@UmarCheema1) June 5, 2018
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
— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) June 5, 2018
According to the Pakistani media, Bukhari was on her to the Waqt TV studio for a talk show when her car was stopped and intercepted by unknowns.
Because of her writing and attitude towards the Pakistani military, many were assuming that her abductors were, in fact, part of the army, and took Bukhari to shake her up and scare her from writing negatively about them again.
Of course, the identity of her alleged abductors has not been confirmed or denied yet and journalists all over Pakistan were just expressing their solidarity, support, and concern for her.
Crushing news about @gulbukhari's disappearance. Gul is one of the bravest Pakistani columnists and human rights defenders. She continuously speaks truth to power without mincing her words. Cannot imagine what her family and kids must be going through. #gulbukhari https://t.co/BPzeCBJeJq
— Rabia Mehmood – رابعہ (@Rabail26) June 5, 2018
The disappearance was, fortunately, a brief one, as Bukhari was returned to her home a couple of hours after being taken.
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
Just recently, Bukhari spoke up about her disappearance, assuring everyone that she was fine and requested some time and privacy from the public.
— Issam Ahmed (@IssamAhmed) June 6, 2018
She thanked everyone who was concerned for her safety, requested privacy at this time and also called out fake accounts tweeting on her behalf
I am well, and would request privacy for myself and my family at this stage. I would also like to reiterate that I have always (and will) tweet from this twitter account. All other accounts tweeting in my name are fake and fictitious.
— غدار (@gulbukhari) June 6, 2018
Being a journalist in Pakistan, especially one with a unique voice, can potentially be a very dangerous thing and clearly, we can see that in the case of Gul Bukhari.
What did you think of the abduction? What kind of measures should journalists take when speaking their truth? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
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Cover image via: pakistan.timesofnews.com