Monitors Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Expression in Pakistan
KILLING OF JOURNALIST AZIZ MEMON: http://www.freedomtalk.net/ is demanding the Federal Government of Pakistan for a fair and non-political investigation into the murder of the journalist, Azizi Memon.
February 16, 2020, unidentified killers murdered a journalist, Aziz Memon, who was working with Sindhi TV channel KTN News and Sindhi-language daily Kawish and disposed of the body in a canal in Naushahro Feroze, rural part of the Sindh province. The family of the journalist informed media that the journalist was working on a story.
Last year, Mr. Memon traveled to the capital Islamabad for his safety and revealed in a video message that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Naushahro Feroze and party activists intimidating him over his news report claiming PPP paid money to hundreds of the poor people to greet chairman of the part and member of the National Assembly (NA), Bilawal Bhutto, in a march from Karachi to Larkana. According to Mr. Memon, PPP had promised to pay RS. 2000 to attend the march, whereas the party paid only Rs. 200, after the march was over. In his video message, Mr. Memon had maintained his non-partisanship and repeatedly begged for safety from the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) affiliates and activists. Video link https://twitter.com/siasatpk/status/1229113448543531010
In November 2019, a journalist (the name is being withheld for his safety concerns) also associated with KTN News requested http://www.freedomtalk.net/ to intervene after he received death threats and falsely framed in multiple cases for his reporting on a minor’s sexual abuse in Dadu, a remote part of province Sindh.
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http://www.freedomtalk.net/ Take: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) wants unchallenged powers to interfere in Police and a yes-man police chief. The chief minister of Sindh, Syed Murad Ali Shah, did everything to remove former Inspector General of Police (IGP) Allah Dino (AD) Khawaja and now Dr. Syed Kaleem Imam, the present IGP. Both the officers are known for their honesty, professionalism, and defying political interference in arresting the criminals, hiding in the parliament. Ironically, the PPP passed a resolution against police chief AD Khawaja and defied the court orders to remove the officer. PPP strongly condemned the murder of Mr. Memon and advised the journalists to "work with your allies."
ASSAULTS | ARRESTS | HARASSMENTS - 2020
- February 2020, senior sports Jang/Geo News reporter Abdul Majid Bhatti and Shoaib Jutt, a reporter of a local TV channel, filed reports with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) of receiving threatening calls from blocked callers IDs. The journalists did not disclose the links between their reporting and the threatening calls.
- February 2020, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) claimed to issue summons to the senior female journalist and social media critic Gul Bukhari on allegation of defaming national institutions and security. Ms. Bukhari denied receiving any such notice.
- February 2020, authorities barred Uzlifat Ismail, mother of the Pashtun rights activist, Gulalai Ismail, from going abroad, and put her name in the exit control list (ECL) alleging her for anti-State activities and supporting her daughter. Ms. Gulalai Ismail has self-exiled herself to the United States
- February 2020, Karachi police arrested at least 30 activists of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) to disrupt the marking of PTM leader, Arman Loni’s first death anniversary. Mr. Loni was killed last year during a sit-in in Balochistan. PTM alleged the authorities killed their leader.
- January 2020, authorities arrested Ameena Zaman, a female protester in her 70s for peacefully protesting the arrest of leader of Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) Manzoor Pashteen.
- January 2020, Pakistani authorities arrest Pashtun right activist and leader of Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) Manzoor Pashteen, along with many other party activists and sympathizers including female activist Ismat Shahjahan; Ammar Rashid, President of Awami Workers Party (AWP); Nawfal Saleemi, an academic, researcher and a political worker, Saifullah Nasar & Shah Rukn e Alam of AWP; Qismat, PTM activist and student of the Government College of Bannu, and climate and political activist Mohsin Abdali, M.Phil. a student from the Punjab University; MBBS student Saqib Wazir of Ayub Medical College. Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) member of the National Assembly (NA) Mohsin Dawar also detained briefly. Authorities gradually started releasing the other detainees while the party claims that still many of its activists, including Chief Manzoor Pashteen are still in jail. The government randomly used charges ranging from terrorism to sedition against arrested and kidnapped activists. The majority of the protesters were arrested outside the Islamabad Press Club. Later, the activists were granted bail by the Islamabad High Court (IHC), but PTM Chief, Manzoor Pashteen, remained in custody.
- January 2020, authorities allow lawyer, human rights, and Hazara Community activist, Jalila Haider to board an international flight after brief detention at the Lahore Airport.
- January 2020, Lahore police arrest journalist Azharul Haq Wahid, working for Channel Five and daily Khabrain newspaper, on allegations of posting defamatory remarks against State-institutions and officials on social media.
- January 2020, fighter pilot-turned-writer Mohammad Hanif claimed that the law enforcement agencies raided the office of his publisher and seized the Urdu-translated copies of his famed satirical novel “A Case of Exploding Mangoes.” Mr. Hanif's novel “A Case of Exploding Mangoes” was about the mystery of an unsolved plane crash in which former military Chief Zia-ul-Haq, a US ambassador, and several other Generals of Pakistan' armed forces were killed in 1988.
- January 2020, Rawalpindi policed released advocate Colonel (R) Inam Raheem after month-long detention. Mr. Raheem works on the cases of infamous Enforced Disappearances in Pakistan. The police did not reason his arrest.
- January 2020, the provincial Sindh High Court bars Sindh police from registering new cases against journalist Ajeeb Lakho. The court ruled after Mr. Lakho’s lawyer informed the court that the police set up the journalist after the publication of his story alleging links between police and the oil smugglers in the area. The police booked Mr. Lakho in 17 cases within five months.
- January 2020, Voice for Baloch Missing Persons – VBMP reported the enforced disappearance of a Baloch student, Hanif S/O Faiz Mohammad, from Gawadar, Balochistan.
MINORITIES | BLASPHEMY
- February 2020, defying the orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, authorities validated fanatic’s invasion to a century-old minority-Muslims Ahmadiyya mosque and hand it over to its occupiers in Kasur – Punjab.
- February 2020, fanatic groups hurled threats and trolled a female lawyer Saify Ali Khan, after her statement in a TV show construed as blasphemous. Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) has demanded security for the lawyer.
- February 2020, a court rejected a plea of an abducted and forcibly converted Hindu teenaged to go with her parents, and instead, sent her to a shelter home in Jaccobabad, Sindh. The parents of the victim, Mehak Kumari, told media that her kidnapper, Ali Raza Solangi, forced her into Islam and marriage. One of the largest religious parties, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), influencing the case in favor of the alleged abductors.
- February 2020, Sindh High Court (SHC) legitimates the kidnapping of a 14-year-old Christian girl Huma Younus, and allowed her kidnapper to keep her as his “wife,” citing the girl’s “puberty.” Parents of the girls had alleged a Muslim man kidnapped Ms. Younus and took her to another province where Ms.Younus was forcibly converted and married against her will to her abductor.
- January 2020, rioters attacked and damaged minority Hindu temple in a remote town of Cachro, Sindh. Police claimed the arrest of four suspects, but the motive of the attack remained unknown.
- January 2020, Islamabad Bar Association barred minority Ahmadi-Muslims from the membership and made it mandatory for the applicants to file an affidavit declaring their beliefs. Later, the notification was retracted.
- January 2020, Rawalpindi police booked an atheist man, Syed Mudaassar, on blasphemy allegations over a complaint filed by another man, Bilal Hashmi.
- January 2020, police arrest two friends Shahbaz Masih (Christian) and Muhammad Ishaq (Muslim), over alleged blasphemy in Faisalabad, Punjab. Fearing repercussions, the families of the arrested friends are also living in hiding.
- January 2020, Multan Bar Association passed a resolution named ‘Tahafuz-e-Namoos-e-Risalat’ banning non-Muslim and minority Ahmadi-Muslims from participating in Multan Bar elections.
CENSORSHIPS | BANS | FINES
- January 2020, the Sindh High Court summoned actor and director Humayun Saeed on allegation of derogatory dialogues in one of the most famous TV shows in recent years, “Meray Paas Tum Ho.” The female plaintiff alleged the actor for what she believed misogynistic language.
- January 2020, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) sent a show-cause notice to private channel Abb Takk News over a female lawyer’s quote mentioning the holy personality of Islam in a talk-show News Café.
- January 2020, despite the clearance from the Film Censor Board, Pakistan censored film Zindagi Tamasha after protests of the religious parties.
- January 2020, Pakistan State-Owned TV (PTV) muted “no” in a live telecast of voting in the Parliament on the extension of the Army Chief tenure.
- January 2020, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) banned ARY News political talk-show 'Off the Record' for 60 days after a Federal Minister Faisal Vawda, brought a military boot to mock the opposition.
- January 2020, the provincial Punjab assembly bans the publication and distribution of three books on Islamic history, and a newspaper “Al-Fazl” published by the Ahmadis, a minority-Muslim community alleging blasphemous. The banned books are; ‘The First Muslim’ and ‘After The Prophet’ by foreign author Lesley Hazleton, and ‘History of Islam’ by Mazharul Haq.
POLITICAL PARTIES ATTACKS AGAINST FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
- February 2020, Mian Akram Usman, General Secretary of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Lahore, used billboards at the Mall Road insulting the minority Hindu community. The billboard has the official logo of the ruling PTI, pictures of the founder of Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan, himself, and the language is “Hindu is not convinced of dialogue, but with a kick.” Later, Mr. Usman apologized.
- January 2020, Federal minister for science and technology, Fawad Chaudhry, assaulted and slapped TV anchor and host of “Khara Sach,” Mubasher Luqman. Mr. Luqman had reportedly asked the Minister about his involvement, and allegation by a TikTok famed girl. The Minister belongs to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION UNDER ATTACK ON CAMPUSES
- February 2020, police attacked, assaulted and briefly detained dozens of protesting students and staffers of the Bolan University of Medical and Health in Quetta. The students and the staff are demanding fee cuts, better dorm facilities, and removal of the vice-chancellor.
- February 2020, Islamia College University of Peshawar forced five students to deactivate their video-sharing app, TikTok accounts.
- January 2020, the University of Pakistani administered Azad Jammu and Kashmir banned the students from wearing lipsticks, and impose a monetary penalty for violators.
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