HRCP urges govt. to release journalist: -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

HRCP urges govt. to release journalist:

Karachi, Dec 24: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has urged the government to release Pakistani journalist Khawar Mehdi Rizvi and to respect journalists’ professional rights while prosecuting the two French journalists accused of violating visa restriction.

In a statement issued here on Wednesday, HRCP secretary-general Hina Jilani said the commission had also decided to observe the court proceedings in the case of French journalists.

She said: “HRCP protests against the arrest and detention of Mr. Rizvi, a freelance journalist, apparently without cause. He cannot be accused of violating any law by visiting any part of Pakistan. Nothing specific has been said about any objection to his association with the two French journalists reportedly charged with abuse of visa facility. The attempt at avoiding disclosure of Mr. Rizvi’s status also is a clear violation of his basic rights under the national laws. He must be released forthwith, and if the authorities holding him have a case against him the facts should be presented before a court and the due process of law respected.”

Ms. Jilani said the HRCP was also concerned at the prosecution of the two French journalists. “While their release on bail is a welcome relief to them, the HRCP urges the government to display reasonableness and due regard to their professional rights. It is possible that they believed the policy of allowing foreign journalists freedom to cover Pakistan and Afghanistan was continued for long years had not changed.”

Source: Dawn
Date:12/25/2003