Paramilitary forces besiege offices of newspapers in Quetta
The paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) and government intelligence agencies besieged offices of the Urdu dailies “Asaap”, and “Azadi” and English daily “Baluchistan Express”, in Quetta, the capital city of the insurgency plagued Balochistan province of Pakistan.
Daily “Asaap” shut down its publication on August 19, 2009 saying that its office has been under siege by the agencies since August 1, 2009 and it was not able function in these circumstances.
The FC personnel began the siege of the offices of English Daily “Baluchistan Express”, and an Urdu Daily “Azadi” on Friday, August 21, 2009. The newspapers said security agencies are carrying out body search and intense questioning of the staff on their arrival and departure from the office. They had also blocked the main entrance of the colony in which offices of the newspapers are located and prevented vehicles and persons from visiting their offices.
Asif Baloch, the editor of “Balochistan Express” and “Azadi” told PPF that the deployment of FC personnel harassed journalists working for the two newspapers. The staff members were held by the FC for several hours and interrogated.
The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has expressed its dismay and grave concern over terrorizing and harassing the editorial and other staff members and termed it a direct attack on freedom of expression and press.
In a statement issued on Saturday, August 22, 2009, the PFUJ urged upon the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take notice of this serious incident of high handedness of the law enforcing agencies and their involvement of violating the fundamental rights of the citizens.
Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)