updated 11/21/2006 11:50:50 AM ET 2006-11-21T16:50:50

A Pakistani reporter for the British Broadcasting Corporation said he was released Tuesday by unknown men in the capital, Islamabad, a day after they abducted, blindfolded and beat him.

Dilawar Khan Wazir, from the BBC's Urdu-language service, said he was snatched from a taxi in Rawalpindi, near Islamabad, by a group of men who bundled him into another car and sped away.

He said he did not know why he was targeted.

"I was sitting in a taxi when five or six people grabbed me," Wazir told The Associated Press. "Then I was blindfolded and taken to unknown place. I was beaten."

On Tuesday, the men put him into a car and left him in a deserted area in Islamabad, he said.

Wazir's brother suggested Pakistani security agents may have kidnapped the reporter, while press watchdogs demanded government action to find him.

Interior Ministry officials were not available for comment, but the state minister for information said authorities had been looking into Wazir's disappearance.

‘In a state of shock’
Aamer Ahmed Khan, editor of BBC's Urdu service in Pakistan, said Wazir was in a state of "shock" and has provided no details on his abductors or their motive.

"He is back and he is apparently unharmed, but he is still in a state of shock," Khan told the AP.

Wazir had been visiting his brother, Zulfikar Ali, at his university hostel on Monday before setting off to return to his home in Dera Ismail Khan, a town in the North West Frontier Province bordering Afghanistan.

Ali said someone claiming to be a doctor had telephoned him shortly afterward, saying his brother had been injured in a road accident and taken to the state-run Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences in Islamabad.

The BBC and Ali both sent envoys to the hospital, but could not locate Wazir.

Targeted journalists
Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders released a statement saying it feared Wazir was Pakistan's "latest victim of kidnappings of reporters," and cited the case of Hayatullah Khan, a journalist kidnapped in Pakistan's northwestern tribal region and found murdered in June.

Members of Khan's family accused Pakistan's intelligence service of involvement. Authorities blamed militants but have refused to make public findings from a probe into the disappearance.

At least 10 Pakistan journalists have either vanished or been killed this year after apparently covering topics sensitive to the government or Islamic militants.

Wazir was based in the South Waziristan tribal region before moving to Dera Ismail Khan following threats by suspected Islamic militants, angered by his reporting.

In August, Wazir's 15-year-old brother was kidnapped and shot dead in the area. In February 2005, Wazir survived a gun attack on a bus near Wana. Two other journalists died in the incident.

No one claimed responsibility for either attack.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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