The story of a kidnapping

Policeman stand guard in Karachi, February 2013.
Policeman stand guard in Karachi, February 2013.

Kidnapping in Karachi is big business, with criminal gangs, political groups, and militants all using abductions as a fundraising tool. Late last year, I interviewed Imran, who was kidnapped and held by the Taliban for three months. I’ve written up his story for the New Statesman.

Imran was on his way to work when it happened. Two motorcyclists pulled up on either side of his car. The man next to his window showed him a gun, a standard technique by thieves on Karachi’s hectic streets. Assuming he was being mugged, Imran held his hands up to show he was unarmed and handed over his phone and wallet. It was not enough. The gunmen forced Imran and his driver out onto the street. They held a gun to his head, blindfolded him, and bundled him into a nearby car.

“It happened very quickly,” he tells me over dinner at a popular seaside restaurant in the port city. “They tied up my hands and covered my eyes. That was when I knew I was being kidnapped.”

You can read the full piece over at my NS blog.

Other recent writings

I’ve contributed these columns to the Express Tribune over the past few weeks:

To be a journalist in Pakistan

The threat to journa­lists comes from terror­ists, but also from the powerf­ul securi­ty establ­ishmen­t.

World of drones

Drones are not going to go away and they are not going to stop being contro­versia­l.

Reforming the police

With parts of Pakist­an slippi­ng out of the state’s contro­l, an effect­ive police force would be a good place to start.


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