ISLAMABAD: Even as Prime Minister Imran Khan claims there has been no crackdown on Pakistani journalists, Mubashir Zaidi, a journalist, has revealed that the Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) has registered cases against 49 journalists to date.
“The biggest crackdown on journalists & social media activists to date is in Pakistan. (The) (Federal Investigation Agency) FIA registered cases against 49 journalists & social media activists under the PECA (Electronic Crime Prevention Act). Names include @ UmarCheema1 @ AzazSyed @murtazasolang @ ammarmasood3 @AsadAToor @bilalfqi etc., “Mubashir Zaidi said in a tweet.
“The Pakistan Federal Journalists Union is asking @pid_gov (the official Pakistani Government official) to drop the cases against journalists and social media activists, otherwise there will be protests across the country,” he added.
Sherry Rehman, Parliament Leader of Pakistan People’s Party and former Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, criticized Imran Khan’s government and called the move a “blatant attempt” to suppress “independent voting in the media”.
Rehman said in a tweet, “Condemn this blatant attempt to suppress independent voices in the media. The pretense is over. This government is now using every means to coerce, intimidate and censor the press in Pakistan … It is libelous. itself democracy. “
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan also condemned the actions of the PTI government which demanded that the state refrain from such actions and stop using the FIA to curb political dissent.
“The HRCP is concerned about the news circulating that the FIA is registering cases against 49 journalists and social media activists under PECA regulations. We demand that the state refrain from such actions and stop using the FIA to curb political dissent,” he tweeted.
Khan recently claimed that there was no crackdown on the media in Pakistan, but the arrests clearly reveal the truth.
Earlier in July, a journalist named Matiullah Jan was kidnapped for his critical views of Pakistan’s military establishment. She was later released several hours later.
Pakistan is ranked 145 out of 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 2020 World Press Freedom Index, three places lower than 2019.
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