ISLAMABAD, 22nd January 2018: Media Matters for Democracy condemns the manhandling of journalist Fawad Hasan, who was reportedly picked up from University of Karachi by plainclothes men for unexplained interrogation and manhandled during the process.
Fawad Hasan, a senior sub-editor with The Express Tribune, was reportedly picked up during a condolence meeting held for Dr Hassan Zafar Arif. Unconfirmed reports of the journalist being tortured during ‘interrogation’ have also surfaced.
“This incident is yet another indicator of the increasing clampdown against anyone who engaged in political dissent. The manner in which the journalist was picked up is alarming”, says Asad Baig, Executive Director, Media Matters for Democracy, “The fact that plainclothes men can simply pick up a journalist from a public university, that too during a condolence meeting is shameful. Once again it is obvious that as long as impunity prevails such incidents will only continue to escalate”.
The continued crackdown against dissenting voices is only doing a disservice to democratic progress in the country and MMfD urges the government to ensure that such anti-democratic and extrajudicial measures by state and non-state actors are immediately tackled.
“This continued crackdown against journalists is reflective of a regressive, dictatorial mindset that has harmed Pakistan’s political progress for decades. It is high time that political and other forces in the country let go of the dictatorial burdens and start working towards an information regime that actually creates the space democratic discourse and development”, says Sadaf Khan, Director Programs, Media Matters for Democracy, “The so-called interrogation of a journalist, in particular the act of picking him up in plain clothes from a public university is clearly an act of intimidation and meant to send a public message to instill fear in those who engage in dissent against political mainstream”.
MMfD demands an immediate inquiry into the matter and asks the government to ensure that such tactics to pressurize journalists are immediately brought to an end.
Image Courtesy: Express Tribune