CPJ expresses concern over threats to Sherry Rahman
By Masood Haider
NEW YORK: The Committee to Protect Journalists has expressed its grave concern about public threats made against journalist and National Assembly member Sherry Rahman.
“Sherry Rehman’s life straddles the worlds of journalism and politics like few others in Pakistan. Even with the government’s increased protection, she remains at great risk, and we remain greatly concerned about the safety of colleague,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia programme coordinator, on Wednesday.
Ms Rehman, who had worked for 10 years as editor of The Herald magazine, has continued to write widely about the blasphemy law and other social issues in Pakistan. She has written frequent commentaries and appeared on numerous television news shows, speaking out for reform.
She served as minister for information and broadcasting under Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, but resigned to protest against the government’s closure of a private television network.
The new threats against Ms Rehman have been widely reported in Pakistan’s media. In a sermon delivered during Friday prayers, a cleric of Karachi’s Sultan Mosque said she deserved to be killed for her role in introducing a bill to amend the blasphemy law in the National Assembly.
Around the same time, the conservative religious organisation Tanzeem-i-Islami distributed pamphlets charging her with having “provoked the religious honour of Pakistan’s Muslims”.