No progress made in probing threats to Ansar -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

No progress made in probing threats to Ansar

ISLAMABAD: It was on December 24, 2008 that the first news item appeared about threats of serious consequences hurled at Ansar Abbasi, Editor Investigation, The News, if he did not stop writing incisive and critical reports for which he is well known.

No sooner did the story make its appearance than not only journalists but also all the sane and sensitive circles of the society came out with full support to the journalist, severely condemning the faceless powers who were behind those threats.

The support to Ansar Abbasi was so spontaneous and threats so indefensible that many in the government, including some main players, also joined the chorus of condemning the threats to silence a dauntless voice so well-known and respected for highlighting ills and evils in the society.

To show their earnestness, the government made some promises to the media about leaving no stone unturned to reach the culprits who were so brazenly hurling serious threats at Ansar Abbasi. The information minister pledged full support, reiterating her commitment to the independence of the media and the fight her party had always put up in support of an independent and vibrant media in line with the policies of her late leader. The adviser on interior offered to provide Rangers or Frontier Constabulary personnel to protect Ansar. However, nothing materialised. Obviously, Ansar also was not very keen to accept the offer of getting a security cover of the Rangers or the FC as he was interested only in knowing as to who could be behind those threats and for that alone he needed the government’s assistance and help.

However, what has transpired is that one deputy inspector-general (DIG) security and one deputy superintendent of police (DSP) security visited the place of Ansar Abbasi on December 26, 2008, a step which was initially taken as a move by the government to launch investigations to uncover those behind the threats.

Unfortunately, at the end of the meeting, Ansar was left even more frustrated and depressed because before leaving the DIG (security) and the DSP only added to his worries when they advised him to keep a low profile and be careful during his movements.

Since then, hardly any progress has been made on the issue. It appears as if the government believes that by sending these two senior police officials to the residence of Ansar they have done all that was needed to be done. However, the factual position is that except for the visit by the two senior police officials there has been no progress worth mentioning.

Inquiries from different departments by this correspondent have revealed that the government has not issued any direction to any of the departments like the Intelligence Bureau, the Special Branch, or the Investigation Wing of the Islamabad Police, or even the concerned police station to carry out an investigation to discover those behind the threats to Abbasi.

Whenever this correspondent went to these departments and asked the concerned officials if they have received any instructions or directives to investigate this case of threats, nobody confirmed having received any such instructions in a proper manner which would have compelled them to start investigating the matter in earnest. Evidently, those statements by officials were mere lip service to cool down the matter and they never actually meant what they had said about leaving no stone unturned to find the culprits. Should one think, in these circumstances, that the government is not serious in providing protection to the journalist?

Source: The News

Date:1/12/2009