HRCPS condemns harassment of journalists
KARACHI, Sept 20: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCPS) has condemned the rising spate of violence against working journalists in the country and their victimisation over the past few months. In a statement issued here on Wednesday, HRCPS Secretary General Iqbal Haider said it was shocking that instead of protecting working journalists and ensuring freedom of the Press, police and administration were callously attacking and harassing them with impunity and without any checks or restraint by the government.
Mr Haider appreciated the suo moto notice taken by the Chief Justice of Pakistan of reports regarding false implication and malicious prosecution of Rawalpindi journalist Shakil Anjum at the behest of a police officer. He requested the chief justice to expand the scope of the notice and investigation to include all other recent incidents of attacks on freedom of the Press, harassment and victimisation of working journalist and attacks on their lives and property in different parts of the country.
This, he said, should include the unprovoked beating of a senior journalist and office-bearer of PFUJ CR Shamsi in Islamabad by the staff of a federal minister; thrashing of three journalists of ARY television network namely Wadood Mushtaq, Zahid Azeem and Nazir Awan by Lahore police, and the subsequent action taken by the Punjab government to unlawfully prevent broadcast of the channel Rmurder of Munir Ahmed Sangi of daily Kawish and KTN; killing of Hayatullah Khan who was kidnapped on December 5, 2005 and found dead on June 16, 2006 in North Waziristan’s town of Mirali with bullet wounds in his head; and kidnapping of Mukesh Rupeta and Sanjay Kumar of Geo Television by law-enforcement agencies from Jacobabad. Mr Haider called upon the government to respect the fundamental rights guaranteed under the constitution, in particular freedom of the press and expression, and restrain from attacking, harassing or victimising journalists in any manner whatsoever.