Islamabad, Pakistan: Journalists have demanded the multiparty government establish a platform where journalists who were victims of state repression during the PTI government can come and ask the state institutions who ordered state repression against them during the PTI government.
In a PTV Talk Show “Chotha Satoon” (Fourth Pillar) anchored by senior journalist Jawad Faizi, participants of the show demanded the multiparty government establish a platform comprising of members of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), presidents of Press clubs, functionaries of Ministry of Information and head of national security agencies where victims (journalists) who were physically repressed and attacked, economically and professionally strangulated during PTI regime can appear and ask government functionaries who ordered for torture, abduction, arrests and sacking from their jobs during Imran Khan’s government.
Since April 2022 when the multiparty government voted out the PTI government, no action has taken place so far against government functionaries or PTI leadership who ordered and executed brutality against journalists during 2018-2022.
The participants of the show included senior journalist Rizwan Razi who was abducted, tortured, and arrested on the alleged orders of the former Prime Minister Imran, Anni Khan, and Agha Iqrar Haroon.
Participants maintained that there is a long list of journalists who faced intimidation, repression, arrests, and torture during the PTI government but no action and no investigation have been taken so far even the PTI government is no more in power.
It may be mentioned that the international journalist right organization Reporters Without Borders listed Imran Khan as the Predator of press freedom.
According to the group, the “cases of brazen censorship are legion since Khan became prime minister” following parliamentary elections in 2018. It said during Khan’s rule, the distribution of newspapers was interrupted, media outlets were threatened with withdrawal of advertising and TV channel signals were jammed.
Journalists who criticized the PTI government had been threatened, abducted, and tortured and at least 86 cases of attacks and violations against media and its practitioners, including journalists, took place in Pakistan between May 2021 and April 2022.
While the overall number of documented violations in the preceding year had gone down several notches. The report, released in Pakistan in 2022 to mark the World Press Freedom Day (in May) reveals that the state actors continue to be the largest threat source for journalists in Pakistan in a period marked by a dramatic escalation of coercion by the erstwhile Imran Khan government resulting in murders, legal cases, assaults, abductions, detentions and threats.