Tue. May 30th, 2023

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif (left) and President Arif Alvi. — AFP/ APP

  • President says LEAs should be directed to provide protection to journalists.
  • Pakistan should not allow oppression and persecution of intelligentsia and journalists, he stresses.
  • President asks PM to keep him informed of remedial actions. 

ISLAMABAD: President of Pakistan Dr Arif Alvi has penned down a letter to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressing his deep concern over rising incidents of harassment and torture against journalists and media persons in Pakistan.

In his letter, President Alvi said that such incidents in the country reflected a mindset of intolerance and negative repercussions both on the future of democracy as well as freedom of expression.

“Such actions also come under international focus and tarnish the image of our country,” he remarked.

He was of the view that the recent actions against journalists would undermine the judiciary’s efforts.

“When in one jurisdiction relief is provided, cases are filed in another jurisdiction with mala fide intention to continue the harassment,” he added.

The president emphasised that the actions or inactions of previous governments should not be used as a ruse to repeat similar violations and such a stance was both untenable and a lame excuse.

“This comparison, instead of taking the country in a progressive and positive direction would become a justification to do worse in retaliation,” he said.

President Alvi stressed that Pakistan being a democratic country, should not allow oppression and persecution of intelligentsia and journalists.

Alvi went on to say that law enforcement agencies (LEA) should be directed to provide protection to journalists.

The president asked the prime minister to keep him informed of the remedial actions taken by him as per Article 46 of the Constitution.

President Alvi also highlighted the recent issue of senior journalist Ayaz Amir, who was attacked, humiliated by unknown persons 

The president further stated that the Freedom of Press Index-2022, Pakistan placed at 157th position which is very low and said many journalist organizations in its “reports has attributed harassment, intimidation, and physical violence against journalists as the main reasons for the dismal position of Pakistan in the said index.”

While referring to the reports of Committee to Protect the Journalists (CPJ) and HRW, President Alvi said according to the reports “96 journalists has been killed in Pakistan from 1992 to 2022 and alleged that the journalists in Pakistan were subjected to charges of sedition and terrorism to stifle dissent and criticism against the powerful elements of the state.”

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