By Talal Qureshi
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), is holding their second rally in support of the 26-year-old missing Pakistani journalist, Zeenat Shahzadi. An NGO based in Canada, CJFE is a proponent for the free expression for journalists with-in and out of Canada. The rally intends for the government of Canada to have a dialogue with government of Pakistan and ensure the safe return of Shahzadi to her family.
Zeenat Shahzadi had gone missing on 19th August, 2015. She was kidnapped in broad daylight in Lahore while travelling in a rickshaw. Her ride had been forced to stop and she was put into a vehicle and faded away into thin air. Ever since the incident, Shahzadi’s mother has been waiting for her to return home. Shahzadi’s younger brother even committed suicide after the kidnapping of her sister out of despair. Shahzadi’s family believes that the kidnapping was made by security agencies.
Shahzadi, at the time of going missing, had been working on the story of an Indian named Nehal Hamid Ansari, who entered Pakistan illegally after his visa was rejected. Ansari came to Pakistan for a heroic mission to stop the love of his life getting married to another man.
Ansari was having an affair with a Pakistani girl. Ansari went missing, Shahzadi was working her best to get Ansari justice, his family was in contact with Shahzadi. She was being repeatedly told to not pursue this story by the officials, but her unflinching determination for the freedom of Ansari led to her own tragedy. Ansari has been sentenced to three years in prison on account of espionage and illegally entering the Pakistani territory, he entered Pakistan through Afghanistan. After two long years, there has been no sign of Shahzadi’s return, and while the world waits, the question remains, will she ever return?