According to a report by Reports Without Borders (RSF), nine cases of intimidation of Pakistani journalists by agencies linked to the army have been registered since Shahbaz Sharif became the prime minister in late April. Daniel Bastard, RSF’s Asia-Pacific chief, said that many of the harassment cases reported by RSF over the past two months had one thing in common, with all journalists, in one way or another, criticizing the military’s role in Pakistani politics. do had
Bajwa responsible for press freedom?
He said that the statistics clearly show that the army has launched a large-scale campaign to intimidate journalists. Such interference is completely intolerable and must be stopped otherwise Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa will be directly responsible for the decline in press freedom in Pakistan. If we look at some of the examples mentioned in the report, before Arshad, a case of violence against a journalist came to light on July 9. Bol News anchor Sami Ibrahim was attacked by three men outside the studio of a TV channel in Melody district of capital Islamabad.
Criminal case registered against journalists
Ibrahim said that the attackers came in a government vehicle with a green license plate. Six weeks ago, a criminal case was registered against Ibrahim under several serious sections, which could carry life imprisonment. Ibrahim is one of the journalists who have questioned the role of the Pakistan Army in politics. Similarly, on July 5, a famous TV journalist Imran Riaz Khan was arrested by dozens of policemen at a toll plaza in Attock, Punjab. Khan has been charged with at least 17 charges, including several serious charges such as “hurting public sentiments” and “sedition”.
Attack on journalist returning home from office
Khan had questioned the role of the army in removing Imran Khan from power. Earlier on the night of June 30, another TV journalist Ayaz Amir was attacked in Lahore. While returning home from office, the assailants dragged him out of his car and beat him up. A day earlier, Aamir had attended a meeting on ‘results of recent government change’. Here he openly criticized the army in politics. However, he was also criticizing Imran Khan who came to power with the help of the army.
‘I lost a friend, husband and favorite journalist’
Arslan Khan, Naeem Nazim, Bilal Farooqui, Matiullah Jan, Taha Siddiqui and who knows how many, the list of journalists who have been victims of repression and attacks in Pakistan is very long. A journalist who speaks against the army in Pakistan has to pay the price, so is Arshad a new name in this list or has he become a victim of an international terrorist conspiracy? Ashard’s murder is the most painful for his wife. Jawaria Siddiqui said in her tweet, ‘Today I lost a friend, husband and my favorite journalist.’