Report: Canadian abducted in Pakistan dies

WEST VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- A Canadian freelance journalist kidnapped in Pakistan has died, an Indian newspaper reported.

Khadija Abdul Qahaar, 58, of West Vancouver, British Columbia, "died following prolonged illness in the custody of the Taliban somewhere in northwest Pakistan or Afghanistan," The Indian Express reported.


Her death was not independently confirmed and the newspaper did not name its source or sources for news of her death, nor did it indicate when she died.

Qahaar, known as Beverley Giesbrecht before converting from Catholicism to Islam, was frail when she and two Pakistani men were kidnapped in November 2008, The Vancouver Sun reported Thursday.

Her unidentified captors demanded a $150,000 ransom for her and released video footage of her pleading for her life.

The Pakistani men were eventually released, but Qahaar was not heard from after August 2009.

Before the kidnapping, she was interviewing Taliban leaders in Pakistan's violent Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, or North-West Frontier province, for a documentary, the Sun said.

Qahaar changed her name and converted to Islam in response to the U.S.-led "war on terror" that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States.


She gave up her career as a magazine and Internet publisher, sold her assets and April 21, 2002, and started a Web site called Jihad Unspun with a stated aim of presenting uncensored reporting of global anti-terrorism activities and news from several Islamic Jihad groups.

Its articles were often highly critical of U.S. foreign policy, and critics accused it of being a hate site.

United Press International was not able to access the Web site Thursday.

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