Another reporter of The News receives threats -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Another reporter of The News receives threats

ISLAMABAD: The wife of Rauf Klasra, special correspondent of The News, has received threatening call from some unknown caller in a bid to stop the journalist from filing hard-hitting stories and writing columns in ‘Jang’.

This is the first time that any family member of a journalist has received such a call. The call, made from private number, told the lady that her husband is “a corrupt man of loose moral character and we have collected a lot of material and data against him which we want to share with you”.

The use of private number indicates that the government agencies are fully behind the recent campaign against senior and independent journalists of the country.This incident took place in the absence of Mr Klasra who is currently in Dhaka to cover the general elections there.

In the past, the journalists have been directly or indirectly receiving threats from different official and unofficial quarters in a bid to stop them from filing stories against the government or some other powerful elements. Ansar Abbasi, editor investigation, The News, is the latest victim of such threats. But, this is the first time that the wife of a journalist has been threatened.

Talking to The News, the journalist’s wife confirmed that she had received a threatening call from an unknown caller who did not reveal his identity. She feared some powerful people were after the blood of her husband. The caller told her that her husband was a corrupt man and they had got a lot of data about his activities. “Your husband is a corrupt man,” she quoted the caller as saying again and again on telephone. However, Mrs Klasra said, after noting the threatening tone of the caller, she switched off the phone as she knew that her husband was being chased, monitored and framed.

She confirmed that her husband has been receiving such calls in the past, which he never made public. She said it seemed a plot was being hatched to malign her husband who always upheld the truth and wanted to be a good journalist. “His employer offered him to stay in UK for three years in 2007 but he preferred to return to Pakistan despite adverse circumstances,” she said.

“My husband has always been honest to his profession and even during testing times he did not fall to temptations, bribery, threats etc. The readers are the best judge of his commitment to his profession,” she said.

The call was made the day Mr Klasra had filed a story in The News about how a plot was hatched to buy property in the name of top journalists of Pakistan to defame them. Mr Klasra confirmed to The News that his wife had brought the incident into his notice. He said in the past too he had received many messages from different quarters to remain alert as he might face dangers in pursuit of his professional duties. He said when he broke the news on Geo TV about how the Indian prime minister had made a request to Pakistan to send DG ISI to India to help in probe even then he had received threatening messages and warnings. He had immediately brought these threats to the notice of Group Editor, The News, Shaheen Sehbai. At one stage a decision was taken to run the news on Geo but later the idea was dropped.

But, he said, this threat to his wife had come from a group having links with a Lahore-based guy working for an intelligence agency, who has been given the task of maligning the journalists.
Source: The News
Date:12/29/2008