FreedomTalk  

Monitors Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Expression in Pakistan

 

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FREEDOM OF SPEECH IN PAKISTAN Annual Report - 2018

2018 – IN A NUTSHELL     


  • Journalist Sohail Khan & Nawa-i-Waqt reporter Zeeshan Butt gunned down for their work in Pakistan.


  • At least 58 incidents of assaults, Arrests, and harassments related to Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Expression and Minorities. 


  • At least 25 known incidents Enforced Disappearances & Missing persons while many cases were not reported in Pakistan.


  • At least 70 incidents of Censorship & Fines to suppress Press Freedom, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Expression in Pakistan.


  • At least 30 attacks of three large political parties, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) against Press Freedom, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Expression and Religious Freedom in Pakistan. The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) accounted for 15 attacks.


  • At least 17 on-campus incidents against Press Freedom, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Expression and Religious Freedom in Pakistan.


OVERVIEW 2018 

2018 was the year of increased strangulation for Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Expression in Pakistan. Authorities and unidentified assailants used Killings, Kidnappings, Arrests, Intimidations, and Censorship to silence the journalists, activists, and dissents.    

Pakistan’s powerful establishment hit media with one of the worst censorships in the history of Pakistan ahead of July 2018 General Elections. Free speech and coverage of liberal media, journalists, activists, and coverage of Pakistan Muslim League (N) were forbidden; political opponents of Imran Khan subjected to selective justice and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) emerged as the darling of the establishment. Distribution of Pakistan’s oldest newspaper Dawnblocked in many areas, The News (newspaper) forced to deny the publication of the articles written by Syed Talat Hussain and Babar Sattar. International media, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court (IHC), Justice(R)Wajihuddin Ahmed and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan – HRCP openly expressed their concerns about pre-poll rigging to install Imran Khan as the new Prime Minister.   

Imran Khan, chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and then a contender to become the next Prime Minister of Pakistan, extended his full support for brutal blasphemy laws and pledged to turn Pakistan into an Islamic State while speaking to the clerics at the Ulema and Mashaikh Conference. In February 2018, the provincial Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government led by Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) announce a massive grant of Rs300 million for Darul Uloom Haqqania. The Haqqania seminaries led by infamous Taliban supported Samiul Haq. Bothe Samiul Haq and his Darul Uloom Haqqania are involved in many suicide attacks and mass murders. The PTI, led by Imran Khan, started funding Darul Uloom Haqqania in 2016 purportedly to win Jihadi voters and showcasing their street power in DHARANAS (sit-ins). Since 2016, the Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has given away more than USD five million to Darul Uloom Haqqania.

In March 2018, a politician and the chairman of the Begowala union council, Imran Cheema, shot and killed newspaper Nawa-i-Waqt’s reporter Zeeshan Butt in Multan. The Politician was angered by the reporter’s questions on new taxes. In October 2018, unidentified killers shot dead journalist Sohail Khan in Haripur - KPK. The journalist had published an article about drug mafia in the area and was seeking police protection after receiving life threats. The Police claimed to have arrested the suspects.    

Many journalists and media reporters were attacked, charged and arrested by the security forces and unidentified assailants including;

Sailaab Mehsud of RFE/RL's Mashaal radio and Zafar Wazir of a local TV, Mansoor Khan (The Nation), journalist Nasrullah Khan Chaudhry ( daily Nai Baat), Cyril Almeida (DAWN), Kadafi Zaman ( Norwegian TV 2), Marvi Sirmed ( Daily Times), Murtaza Zehri (Voice of America), Saleem Safi( GeoNews), Maryam Hasan (editor of the annual report on the state of human rights in Pakistan and a consultant for The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan), Taha Siddiqui ( France 24 and Pakistan bureau chief of Indian television channel WION), Zafar Khoso (7News), Abbas Gul Mastoi (Hum TV/Roz News), Muhammad Moosa Baloch (ARY News), Mukhtiar Dhul (Mehran TV), Muhammad Moosa Sarki (Sindh TV) and Abdul Razzaq Burhro (Daily Mehran).

The other victims were journalist Noor Ali Wazir in Wana, Journalist Sher Ullah Shakir Mahsud in Dera Ismail Khan, senior journalist, and anchorperson, Asad Kharal in Lahore and a partially paralyzed journalist, Shabbar Aazmi, in Karachi.

In June, unidentified armed men kidnapped a female journalist and activist, Gul Bukhari in Lahore. Ms. Bukhari was on her way to the studio of Waqt TV. She returned home after several hours following an intense backlash on social media. In November, plainclothes men armed with assault rifles raided the Karachi Press Club (KPC) at night and harassed the journalists. The armed men searched the press club and made cell phone videos, but did not disclose the reason for their incursion. The second attack also happened in November, when unidentified individuals armed with firearms and baton attacked the office of daily Akhbar-i-Shahar and brutally assaulted and injured crime reporter Kamran Gul, in Peshawar.

The authorities are also choking the journalists economically, as the Ministry of Information has lowered the advertisement rates for media houses, resulting in more than 2000 media workers out of the jobs within the last few months – Journalists and media houses construe it a ploy to silence Freedom of Speech.

Disruption of the newspaper’s distribution continued in the troubled Balochistan Province. In February, the banned militant groups Baloch separatist United Baloch Army (UBA), and Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF) called off 4-month-long media boycott in the province, but the delivery of daily Dawn remains significantly interrupted. During the violent boycott, newspapers delivery was cut off, and media houses and press clubs were attacked.

In October, The Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights announced the roadmap for protection of freedom of expression and minorities rights in Pakistan. The committee said, “Freedom of expression is getting equal to facing death in the country.” One of the demands of the committee is to delete the hate material against minorities from the textbooks. SCROLL DOWN FOR TIME TIMELINE OF 2018 OCCURRENCES

POLITICAL PARTIES ATTACKS AGAINST FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

http://www.freedomtalk.net/ documented at least 30 attacks of three dominant political parties, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Press Freedom, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Expression and Religious Freedom in Pakistan; The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) accounted for 15 attacks. SCROLL DOWN FOR TIME TIMELINE OF 2018 OCCURRENCES​
 
In February, Imran Khan, head of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), and now the Prime Minister of Pakistan, threatened a journalist by responding “I am very dangerous.” The journalist was asking a question about his appearance in the court of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), In April, supporters of the provincial Agriculture Minister Jaffar Khan Mandokhail, assaulted a TV journalist Asad Khan Betini in Zhob, Quetta. The journalist was investigating corruption in the Minister’s jurisdiction; also in April, a councillor Rai Mohammad Khan assaulted and detained a DawnNewsTV reporter, Bilal Sheikh in Sheikhupura, Punjab. The reporter was following up with the reports of below average materials in a sewerage project in the area. In September, ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) blocked official media including state-owned Pakistan Television (PTV) and the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP), from covering the Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Peshawar. In December, Ousted Prime Minister and an unofficial leader of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), Nawaz Sharif’s guards assaulted and injured a cameraman, Syed Wajid Ali, working for Samaa TV. The guards repeatedly kicked the cameraman in the face sending him into a concussion. Mr. Sharif walked away from the scene. SCROLL DOWN FOR TIME TIMELINE OF 2018 OCCURRENCES​

ATTACKS ON MINORITIES

Authorities, radicals, and vigilantes sustained blasphemy laws arbitrarily and equally targeted Muslim-minorities and non-Muslims. In 2018, at least six minority-Hazara-Shia and Eight Christians gunned down in different incidents.     

In October, unidentified killers shot dead 16-year-old Christian, Noman Masih and injured two Christian friends over WhatsApp conversation in Nawaz Sharif colony; a 26-year-old Christian man Sunil Saleem was lynched by the security guards, medical staff, and doctors at the Services Hospital, Lahore. Mr. Saleem was visiting the hospital to deliver food to his pregnant sister. In December, a Pakistani court sentenced two Christian brothers Qaisar and Amoon Ayub to death over what police claimed posting online blasphemous contents in 2011, in Jehlum, Punjab. The two brothers are in Jail since 2015 and claim their online account was deactivated since 2009; another Pakistani court sentenced a Muslim man, Taimoor Raza, to death for blasphemous posting on Facebook in September. In two separate incidents, a charged mob attacked two historical sites, and a mosque belonged to the minority-Muslim-Ahmadi community, in Sialkot and Faisalabad. In September, Pakistan expelled economist Atif R. Mian from the Prime Minister Imran Khan-led Economic Advisory Council (EAC). Atif R. Mian belongs to the minority Ahmadi community, and he was removed because of religious parties bullying to the government.

In December, the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), added a column asking minority-Muslims-Ahmadis to declare that they are non-Muslims, in the application form of the Computerized National Identity Cards (CNIC). In July, former Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had said “every citizen has the right to know religious beliefs of civil servants,” doing government jobs in teaching, armed forces, judiciary, civil services and many other professions inaccessible for Muslim and non-Muslim minorities. Later in March, he issued orders making faith declaration compulsory; disqualifying minorities from most of the jobs in Pakistan. 

In July, Imran Khan, chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), and now the Prime Minister of Pakistan, extended his full support to brutal blasphemy laws and pledged to turn Pakistan into an Islamic State while speaking to the clerics at the Ulema and Mashaikh Conference. Mr. Khan is known for his sympathy and financial aid to the Jihadi groups such as Darul Uloom Haqqania. In February, the provincial Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government led by Mr. Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), announced a massive grant of Rs300 million for Darul Uloom Haqqania. The Haqqania seminaries were led by infamous Taliban commander and warlord, Samiul Haq. Samiul Haq (assassinated in November), and his Darul Uloom Haqqania have claimed many suicide attacks and mass murders in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The PTI, led by Imran Khan, started funding Darul Uloom Haqqania in 2016 purportedly to win Jihadi voters and garnering their street power in DHARANAS (sit-ins). Since 2016, the Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has given more than five million dollars to Darul Uloom Haqqania.  

In May, the National Assembly of Pakistan passed a resolution to re-name Dr. Abdul Salam Physics Centre of the Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU) after Muslim scientist Abu al Fatah Abdul Rehman Al-Khazini. A fierce opponent of minorities, Captain Muhammad Safdar of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) had presented the resolution. The other major parties in the house, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) were also the signatories of the resolution. Dr. Abdul Salam, now deceased, belonged to the minority-Muslim-Ahmadi community. He was the first noble laureate of Pakistan.

In October, the Supreme Court of Pakistan acquitted Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman, who was convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death by hanging in 2010. However, she had already spent eight years in jail before her acquittal and now faces death threats.

In February, Pakistan had reached out to Google to censor blasphemy contents arbitrarily.  SCROLL DOWN FOR TIME TIMELINE OF 2018 OCCURRENCES​

CENSORSHIPS | BANS | FINES 

Rampant and random censorship persisted; from movies to criticism to social media accounts, each word is under the microscope and may be punishable. Who controls media in Pakistan? This was the question Pakistanis were asking when the State-owned media censored press conference of the then Prime Minister Shahid Abbasi on National Security Council (NSC) in May.

Journalists Cyril Almeida, Babar Sattar, and Syed Talat Hussain had their articles banned. In December, Pakistan reached out to Twitter Transparency for the removal of 243 accounts and reported 3,004 profiles compared to 75 removal requests between July and December, and 674 accounts last year. The reported accounts were alleged as “spreading hate material” and “inciting violence.” In April, The website of Voice of America's (VOA) in Urdu and Pashtu languages were blocked, and all five channels of the Geo TV Network pulled off-air in for almost two weeks. In May, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) banned Voice of America (VoA) TV show, view 360, the Press Council of Pakistan (PCP) served notice to the English newspaper Dawn over an interview of the deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) banned Aaj TV from airing the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) program Sairbeen. In May, Pakistan restricted the delivery of the oldest English newspaper, DAWN in many parts of the country following the publication of an interview of the deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. In February, Pakistan barred private electronic and print media from the coverage of the first-ever international moot on human rights on occasion of the 70th Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) anniversary, and in January, Pakistan blocked Pushto language Radio Mashaal after Pakistan’s spy agency’s (ISI) allegations of propaganda against Pakistan.    

In November, the Supreme Court issued contempt notices to The News and Jang Group of Newspapers for publishing the Chief Justice remarks that “Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government lacks credibility, skill & strategy.” All the other newspapers published the same comments were ignored, in October, the Supreme Court of Pakistan upholds the ban on airing neighbouring India’s transmission on local television channels, in September, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) warned TV channels criticism over Supreme Court’s collections of controversial Diamer- Bhasha Dam Fund.

In November, Dr. Taimur Rahman, Dr. Ammar, Member of National Assembly (MNA) Ali Wazir and former Daily Times editor Rashed Rahman were barred from the 4th Faiz International Festival in Lahore, and in June, a court in Multan deferred the launch of the book of a female journalist, Reham Khan. The book was critical to many celebrities and her former husband Imran Khan, now the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Neighboring India’s films Mulk, Veere Di Wedding, Raazi, Pari, and Padman were banned alleging it anti-Muslim or anti-state. SCROLL DOWN FOR TIME TIMELINE OF 2018 OCCURRENCES​

ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES  

In June, The Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar ordered all the intelligence and law enforcement agencies to expedite the information and recovery of the Missing Persons, but it did not make any significant progress and the list of the enforced disappearances continue to grow.

Journalists, political workers, Baloch activists, social media activists, bloggers, Sindhi nationalists, Pashtuns, Urdu speaking activists, social media activists, minorities, and civilians were indiscriminately disappeared or kidnapped.   

In February, a brutally tortured dead body of 34-year-old missing person Moosa Khan was found on the outskirts of Karachi. The deceased Moosa Khan and his brother Essa were allegedly kidnapped by men in plainclothes. Essa Khan is still missing.

In November, Syed Raziul Abbas, a 70-year-old minority Shia scholar and the Chairman of the Imamia Students Organisation (ISO), was kidnapped. Zaibdar Marri, the president of the Kohlu Press Club and correspondent of the ExpressNews, disappeared on July 13. The journalist was reporting on the election campaign in the troubled Balochistan province. SCROLL DOWN FOR TIME TIMELINE OF 2018 OCCURRENCES​
 
TARGETING RIGHTS MOVEMENTS

Many activists of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), a political movement for the rights of the people caught-up between militancy and security forces belonging to the restive South Waziristan, arrested and stopped from boarding international flight and even banned to enter the other provinces of the country. Police arrested PTM activists Gulalai Ismail and barred her from leaving the country. Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir, Members of the National Assembly (MNA) from North Waziristan were off-loaded and arrested at the Peshawar Airport. The provincial government of Balochistan banned the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), chief Manzoor Pashteen, from entering the province. Mr. Pashteen’s alma mater Gomal University also banned him from entering the Dera Ismail Khan campus. In May, the State-owned Pakistan Television (PTV) abruptly terminated the contract of female anchor Sana Ejaz alleging her affiliation with PTM. Political administration in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) banned Mohsin Dawar, from entering his home jurisdiction for three-month alleging him of making subversive speeches against Pakistan. 

A massive rally of Pakhtun Tahhafuz Movement (PTM) led by Manzoor Mehsood (widely known as Manzoor Pashteen) in Bannu in October and three-day sit-in, in a secluded North Waziristan village organized by the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) were entirely banned on TV channels and much of the print media. The protesters were demanding justice for the two unarmed civilians allegedly killed by the security forces in August. In June, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) blocked the website of a political party, “Awami Workers Party (AWP).” The website was gradually restored after three days. SCROLL DOWN FOR TIME TIMELINE OF 2018 OCCURRENCES
 

KILLINGS


  • December 2018, armed attackers killed private TV journalist Noorul Hassan & injured journalist Sabir in Peshawar – Pakistan. Police are investigating the motive of killings.


  • October 2018, unidentified killers shot dead journalist Sohail Khan in Haripur - KPK. The journalist had published an article about drug mafia in the area and was seeking police protection after receiving life threats. Police claimed to have arrested the suspects.


  • October 2018, unidentified individuals (believed to be the non-Christian friends of the victims) shot dead 16-year-old Christian Noman Masih and injured two Christian friends over WhatsApp conversation in Nawaz Sharif Colony, Lahore.


  • September 2018, robbers killed Mohammad Saeed Butt, a senior Journalist of an Urdu daily (Khabrain) in a robbery attempt in Multan. Later, the police arrested three suspects.


  • April 2018, Targeted killings of minority Shia-Hazara continue unabated in Pakistan, unidentified shooters kill two more Shia Hazara men in the fourth attack within a month in Quetta.


  • April 2018, unidentified shooters kill two Christian men in Quetta - second targeted killing in a week.


  • April 2018, unknown assailants killed a shopkeeper, belonging to the Hazara-Shia minority in Quetta. According to the National Commission of Human Rights (NCHR), 509 people of the Hazara-Shia community were killed in Quetta during last five years.


  • April 2018, unknown assailants kill two more men Muhammad Ali and Muhammad Zaman, belonging to the Hazara-Shia minority – second targeted killings of the Hazara-Shia minority within a week in Quetta.


  • ​April 2018, a day after Easter Sunday, unidentified shooters killed four members of a Christian family in Quetta.


  • March 2018,  a politician and the chairman of the Begowala union council, Imran Cheema shot and killed newspaper Nawa-i-Waqt reporter Zeeshan Butt in Sambrial, Multan. The Politician was angered by the reporter’s questions about new taxes.  


  • March 28, Security guards, medical staff, and doctors lynched 26-year-old Christian man Sunil Saleem at the Services Hospital Lahore. Mr. Saleem was visiting the hospital to deliver food to his pregnant sister.


  • March 2018, undefined gunmen shot to death Anjum Muneer Raja, the sub-editor of the Urdu newspaper Qaumi Pukaar. Mr. Muneer was killed in a highly guarded high-security zone of Rawalpindi, in the proximity of the Pakistani military's national headquarters (GHQ).


  • February 2018, brutally tortured dead body of a 34-year-old missing person Moosa Khan found on the outskirts of Karachi. The deceased Moosa Khan and his brother Essa were allegedly kidnapped by men in plainclothes. Essa Khan is still missing.


  • February 2018, three men killed a female stage performer and TV artist Sumbal, when she fought back her attempted kidnapping in Mardan. 


  • January 2018, the President of Pakistan, Mamnoon Hussain pardoned three law enforcement personnel belonging to the Sindh Rangers over extrajudicial killing of a 22-year-old Sarfaraz Shah in 2011. Before being shot dead in a public park, the victim begged for his life, and the entire tragedy was caught in camera in Karachi.  


ASSAULTS | ARRESTS | HARASSMENTS

  • December 2018, National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), force minority-Muslims Ahmadis to declare that they are non-Muslims, in the application form of the Computerized National Identity Cards (CNIC).


  • December 2018, a Pakistani court sentenced two Christian brothers Qaisar and Amoon Ayub to death over what police claimed posting online blasphemous contents in 2011, in Jehlum, Punjab. The two brothers are in Jail since 2015 and claim their online account was deactivated since 2009.


  • December 2018, police book Sailaab Mehsud of RFE/RL's Mashaal radio and Zafar Wazir of a local TV and several other people for covering the protest of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) in Dera Ismael Khan, KP province. The police were alleging them for sedition.


  • December 2018, plainclothes security personnel briefly detained Mansoor Khan, Chief Reporter for daily The Nation while reporting a political party MQM-L rally in Karachi. 


  • December 2018, Police raided the house of a partially paralyzed journalist Shabbar Aazmi, in Karachi for undisclosed reasons.


  • November 2018, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) removed and briefly arrested Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir, Members of National Assembly (MNA) from North Waziristan, from Dubai bound aircraft at Peshawar airport. Both, the MNAs are the activists of the beleaguering Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM).


  • November 2018, unidentified individuals armed with firearms and baton attacked the office of daily Akhbar-i-Shahar and brutally assaulted and injured crime reporter Kamran Gul in Peshawar.


  • November 2018, police arrest veteran journalist Nasrullah Khan Chaudhry, working for Urdu-language daily Nai Baat in Karachi. Police booked him under the Anti-Terrorism Act and sent to jail. Mr. Chaudhry granted bail after spending two weeks in jail.  


  • November 2018, plainclothes men armed with assault rifles raided the Karachi Press Club (KPC) at night and harassed the journalists. The armed men searched the press clubs and made cell phone video but did not disclose the reason for their incursion.   


  • October 2018, police briefly detained Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) activist Gulalai Ismail and later released on interim bail in Islamabad. She has also been barred to leave the country.


  • October 2018, the Lahore High Court (LHC) summons Cyril Almeida, a leading columnist for the newspaper Dawn, accusing him of treason for his article about civil-military relationship written in May 2018.


  • September 2018, the provincial Sindh Government file police report against citizens peacefully protesting the closure of main transit artery in Karachi due to the VVIP protocol of the President of Pakistan.   


  • September 2018, Jawad, a deputy superintendent of police (DSP) assaulted, deleted video footage and briefly detained Sher Afgan Buzdar, a reporter of BOL TV in Dera Ghazi Khan, Punjab. The journalist Sher Buzdar was reporting a police raid to arrest a man without warrants.    


  • September 2018, doctors and supporting staff of the Thul Civil Hospital in Sindh assaulted and removed journalists Zafar Khoso of 7 News, Abbas Gul Mastoi of Hum TV/Roz News, Muhammad Moosa Baloch of ARY News, Mukhtiar Dhul of  Mehran TV, Muhammad Moosa Sarki of Sindh TV and Abdul Razzaq Burhro of Daily Mehran newspaper from the hospital. The journalists were also booked under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATC). The journalists were asking questions about the shortage of staff and medicine in the hospital after receiving complaints from the patients.


  • September 2018, a Pakistani court sentences Muslim man, Taimoor Raza, to death for blasphemous posting on Facebook.


  • September 2018, Pakistan expelled economist Atif R. Mian from the Prime Minister Imran Khan-led Economic Advisory Council (EAC). Atif R. Mian belongs to the minority Ahmadi community, and he was removed following religious parties backlash.


  • August 2018, female journalist Asma Shirazi was faced with social media backlash and humiliation by the supporters of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for her Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) leaning sentiments.  


  • August 2018, renowned journalist Saleem Safi was faced with social media backlash and humiliation by the supporters of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) after his documented claims that the ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif paid the Prime Minister house’s costs by himself during his stay in the PM house.  


  • August 2018, the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar started a suo motu action and summoned ARY News host Arshad Sharif for discussing sub-judice matters on his talk show Power Play.


  • August 2018, Mukhtar Ahmad, an influential local landlord, led a violent mob attack against the minority Christians and injured, among others, an 18-year-old, Christian girl and a 10-year-old Christian boy in Kasur, Punjab. The Muslims are opposing the construction of the only Christian church in the area; the matter is pending in the court.


  • August 2018, Natalia Gul Jilani, a Sindhi female stand-up comedian, became a victim of cyberbullying and threats for her satirical skit titled 'Sindhi Encyclopedia.'


  • August 2018, a mosque, belonging to the minority Ahmadi community, set on fire after a heated arguments between two groups in Faisalabad - Punjab


  • August 2018, controversial Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar threatened to ban Jang/ Geo media Group from court coverage. The Chief Justice said that one of his statement misreported and discussed in a TV show.


  • August 2018, unidentified individuals attacked the house of a private news channel journalist Imran Khan in Mingora.


  • July 2018, police arrest Hayat Preghal, an activist of Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM). Mr. Preghal has arbitrarily been booked under Pakistan Cyber Crime Act for posting ‘anti-state’ content on social media. He was released in October 2018.  


  • July 2018, police charge a minority Hindu teenage boy under blasphemy laws in Mirpurkhas – Sindh. The local cleric had filed a complaint against the boy alleging his social media posts as blasphemous.    


  • July 2018, National Counter Terrorism Authority of Pakistan warns journalists Matti Ullah Jan, Aizaz Syed, Waheed Murad, Omer Cheema and Hamid Mir of possible attacks on their lives. A letter dated July 11, 2018, informed that Usama Khalid, a known terrorist, has reached Pakistan from Afghanistan to kill the journalists using improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and small arms.


  • July 2018, Police assault and arrest Kadafi Zaman, a Norwegian TV 2 reporter as he was covering violent political protests in Punjab. The journalist was released after three days of imprisonment.  


  • July 2018, Verified and unverified social media accounts target Female journalist, Asma Shirazi, with cyberbullying, name-calling, and harassment for her reporting over a political occurrence.   


  • July 2018, unidentified attackers shot and injured five members of minority Muslim Ahmadi community in Lahore.


  • July 2018, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) said “every citizen has right to know religious beliefs of civil servants,” making government jobs in teaching, armed forces, judiciary, civil services and many other professions inaccessible for Muslim and non-Muslim minorities.


  • July 2018, Karachi Police assault, briefly detain and thrash human rights activist and Elections 2018 contestant Jibran Nasir, for allegedly “bothering” a judge protocol on a public space.


  • June 2018, unidentified individuals raided the house of a female journalist Marvi Sirmed, a reporter for the newspaper Daily Times, in Islamabad in her absence.  The intruders scanned laptops, smartphones, and valid passports before getting away with them. Surprisingly, many expose valuables were not taken.  As Pakistan is going through severe censorship on press and freedom of expression, it is widely believed that the law enforcement agencies are behind ransacking.


  • June 2018, Taliban attack and injured a FATA journalist Noor Ali Wazir in Wana.


  • June 2018, Security Forces arrest Senior Journalist Sher Ullah Shakir Mahsud in Dera Ismail Khan.


  • June 2018, unidentified “masked men” assault senior journalist and anchorperson Asad Kharal in Lahore.


  • June 2018, unidentified armed men kidnap female journalist and activist Gul Bukhari in Lahore. Ms. Bukhari was on her way to the studio of Waqt TV. She returned home after several hours.


  • May 2018, security guards of Sheikh Zayed Hospital assault reporter Murtaza Zehri, working for the Voice of America (VOA) in Quetta. Mr. Zehrin was following the story of alleged hiring malpractices in the hospital.


  • May 2018, unidentified armed men attack and damage the property of a Balochi language TV channel "Vaash" in Karachi.


  • May 2018, a mob of Islamists and city officials demolished two historical sites belonging to doomed Muslim minority Ahmadiyya community in Sialkot, Punjab.


  • May 2018, police arrests activists Sourath Lohar, convener of the Voice for Missing Persons of Sindh, Jani Shah, Ishaq Mangrio, Zahid Bugti, and Altaf Shah for protesting against the enforced disappearances in Sindh.


  • April 2018, police register criminal cases against peaceful protesters of minority Hazara community. The protesters were demanding the security and justice for the victims after series of targeted killings. At least 511 people of the Hazara-Shia community were killed in Quetta during last five years.


  • April 2018, unknown gunmen shot fires and attempt to enter the house of the GeoNews anchorperson Saleem Safi in capital Islamabad.


  • April 2018, unknown individuals conducted a "burglary-style raid" on the house of Maryam Hasan, who is the editor of the annual report on the state of human rights in Pakistan and a consultant for The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP). The unidentified men investigated her about her profession and sized her electronic gadgets and valuables.


  • April 2018, the Punjab police arrest President of Awami Worker Party (AWP) Fanoos Gujjar and Deputy Secretary Ismat Shahjahan along with other AWP workers and Pakhtun Tahhafuz Movement (PTM) organizers Ali Wazir; a day ahead of their planned public gatherings.


  • ​March 2018, Anwar Ali Khan Lohar, the father of a former militant commander Zafar Ali Lohar threatened to kill four tribal journalists for TheNews in Wana, South Waziristan. The journalists Malik Irfan Burki, Inzamam Burki, Rafi Burki and Kashif Burki, exposed corruption in the local government developmental funds.


  • March 2018, An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Lahore acquitted 20 people suspected of involvement in the lynching and burning alive of a Christian couple who were accused of blasphemy in Kot Radha Kishan in 2014. The young and destitute Christian couple Shama and Shahzad, were dragged out from their house, beaten and thrown in the kiln they were working at in Punjab. The couple had three kids, and Shama was pregnant at the time of immolation. When Shama’s clothing resisted the fire, she was stripped and rolled up into cotton to burn quickly. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) revealed that the brick kiln owner where Shama and Shehzad worked used blasphemy against a couple of desecrating the Muslim’s holy book to settle a financial dispute of equivalent US$ 970. The HRCP also believed that Shama might be alive when thrown into the Kiln.


  • March 2018, police in Pakistan registered a case against former ambassador to the US, Hussain Haqqani, for allegedly expressing anti-Pakistan opinions. 


  • March 2018, police registered a case against Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) leaders and activists in Balochistan. The PTM was staging a peaceful protest against alleged enforced disappearances, extrajudicial arrests, and killings and marginalization of the Pakhtun community.  


  • March 2018, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) further segregates the minorities with a racially discriminative order making faith declaration compulsory. This order will deprive minorities to join the army, judiciary, and civil services. 


  • February 2018, blasphemy suspect Sajid Masih accuses Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) officials of forcing him to sexually assault his cousin Patras Masih, who is also in custody. 


  • February 2018, Islamabad High Court (IHC) dropped contempt charges against anchorperson Matiullah Jan, who questioned about lawyers involvement in land grabbing scam.  


  • February 2018, police arrest 18 year-old-boy Christian boy, Patras Masih on blasphemy who had no money to pay for his phone repair cost to the accuser. 


  • February 2018, the police booked six activists Bacha Gul, Aimal Khan, Ahmad Shah, Izhar, Hussain Shah and Latif Khan on terrorism charges for peacefully protesting against racial profiling of Swat area residents. 


  • February 2018, the Supreme Court of Pakistan orders media houses to pay the wages of the journalists and media workers within ten days. Several media houses have not paid their staff for past several months.


  • February 2018, TV anchor Reham Khan, former wife of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan, left Pakistan after receiving threatening calls. She is currently working on an autobiography.


  • January 2018, law enforcement agencies (LES) briefly detained the Express Tribune’s journalist Fawad Hasan, at the University of Karachi. LEAs accused him of making remarks against them while condoling the death of a university professor.


  • January 2018, a female Pakistani rights activist and the founder of “Aware Girls,” Gulalai Ismail, sought legal action against a man Hamza Khan who accused Gulalai Ismail of blasphemy. Hamza Khan also started a social media campaign asking people to attack her.


  • January 2018, unidentified men assaulted and attempted to kidnap journalist Taha Siddiqui, a reporter for France 24 and Pakistan bureau chief of Indian television channel WION in Islamabad.


DEVELOPMENT



  • October 2018, The Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights announced the roadmap for protection of freedom of expression and minorities rights in Pakistan. The committee said, “Freedom of expression is getting equal to facing death in the country.” One of the demands of the committee is to delete the hate material against minorities from the textbooks.


ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES 

  • December 2018, unidentified armed kidnappers kidnap Dr. Khalil, a neurosurgeon in Quetta, the provincial capital of troubled Balochistan.


  • December 2018, the Baloch Students Organization (BSO) staged a protest for the missing students of Quetta – Balochistan in Loralai. BSO alleged that BSO Chairman Zareef Rind, Secretary General Changez Baloch, Information secretary Aurangzaib Baloch and Jiand Baloch were picked up by the law enforcement agencies (LEAs).


  • November 2018, Syed Raziul Abbas, a 70-year-old minority Shia scholar and the Chairman of the Imamia Organisation, allegedly picked up by the unidentified individuals.


  • October 2018, Syed Rizwan Kazmi, a minority Shia scholar, allegedly picked up by unidentified individuals in Lahore. He returned home after the Lahore High Court (LHC) intervention in November 2018.


  • July 2018, Plainclothes individuals riding police vehicles abducted a woman Romana Munawar in Karachi.


  • July 2018, journalist Zaibdar Marri, president of the Kohlu Press Club and correspondent of the Express News, disappeared on July 13. The journalist was reporting on the election campaign in troubled Balochistan province.


  • June 2018, unidentified masked men kidnapped a female journalist, Gul Bukhari in Lahore on her way to appear in a show on Waqt TV. She was released after several hours.


  • May 2018, Sindhi nationalists Khadim Arejo, Hidayat Lohar, Sohail Bhatti, Raza Jarwar, Nangar Channa, Mukhtiar Almani, Shadi Khan Soomro, Ahmed Ali Bughio, and Munsoor Gurgez are some of the activists recently reported missing in different parts of province Sindh.


  • May 2018, a Karachi University (KU) Professor Riaz Ahmed returns home after the short-term enforced disappearance in Karachi. He is reportedly a supporter of the Pashtoon Tahaffuz movement (PTM).    


  • May 2018, at least 30 minority Christian youths abducted by the men in police uniforms riding unmarked police vehicles from Youhanabad, Karachi. Later, many of them claimed torture and registration of arbitrary cases.


  • April 2018, unidentified plain-clothed men kidnapped Laeeq Aslam, a Ph.D. student and lecturer at the Isra University of Science and Engineering (IUSE) from his home in Rawalpindi.   


  • March 2018, unidentified armed men kidnapped a tribal journalist Shah Zaman Mehsud in Tank, South Waziristan. He is a correspondent for a Karachi based Urdu newspaper.


  • March 2018, unidentified men kidnapped Saeed Baloch, a senior year student at Bolan Medical College in Quetta. He returned home after few days.


  • February 2018, unidentified men riding tinted vehicles kidnapped Hassan Shah in Karachi. Mr. Shah is the former employee of the armed forces of Pakistan. He was active with the Karachi Arts Council and respected member of the civil society in Pakistan. He was under investigation by Pakistan Army for quitting his job. He returned home after a month. He was locked up by the Orangi police station in Karachi. The police had refused his custody. 


  • February 2018, a primary school teacher and former activist of the separatist movement Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM), Ubaidullah Jarwar, kidnapped by the men riding in police vehicles in rural Sindh. The police are denying the kidnapping and clueless about the whereabouts of Mr. Jarwar.  Just a few days ago, his journalist brother, Rafaqat Jarwar was also kidnapped in rural Sindh.   


  • February 2018, Rafaqat Jarwar, a journalist working for Daily Koshish, kidnapped by plainclothes and police uniformed men in rural Sindh.


  • January 2018, two students of the Karachi University, Mumtaz Sajidi and Saif Dada Baloch, picked up by the plainclothes police in Karachi, returned home after two days. The students belong to the troubled province of Balochistan.  


  • January 2018, a minority Shia social activist and doctoral student at Karachi University, Syed Mumtaz Hussain Rizvi, disappeared in Karachi.


Developments 

  • November 2018, Justice Naimatullah Phulpoto of the Sindh High Court's (SHC) relevant police officers of jail time for slow progress on infamous enforced disappearances or missing person’s case.    


  • July 2018, Raza Mehmood Khan, a peace activist and the convener of Aaghaz-e-Dosti returned home. Unidentified men kidnapped him in December 2017.


  • July 2018, Justice Athar Minallah of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) ordered bureaucrats and law enforcement agencies to pay compensation to the wife of the missing person, Sajid Mehmood, missing since 2016.


  • June 2018, The Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar orders all the intelligence and law enforcement agencies to expedite the information and recovery of the Missing Persons.


CENSORSHIPS | BANS | FINES

  • December 2018, Pakistan banned the release of neighboring India’s film “Manto” in the country. Pakistan disagrees with the narratives of the film. Later, the ban was revoked by the Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Fawad Ahmed Chaudhry.


  • December 2018, Pakistan reached Twitter Transparency for the removal of 243 accounts and reported 3,004 profiles compared to 75 removal requests between July and December, and 674 accounts last year. The reported accounts were alleged as “spreading hate material” and “inciting violence.”


  • December 2018, Pakistan blocks website of Voice of America's (VOA) Urdu and Pashtu language services.


  • December 2018, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) warned BOL NEWS, for the hosts’ Dr. Fiza Akbar ridiculing of Murad Saeed, Minister of State for Communications and Minister of State for Postal Services, in her show, “aisa nahi chaley ga.” The Minister is often targeted for the over-flattering he receives from the Prime Minister, Imran Khan.


  • December 2018, the provincial government of Balochistan stop beleaguered the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), chief Manzoor Pashteen, from entering the province. 


  • December 2018, the provincial government of Sindh issued orders banning beleaguered the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) chief Manzoor Pashteen, from entering the province. The notification was withdrawn after two days..


  • November 2018, Dr. Taimur Rahman, Dr. Ammar, Member of National Assembly (MNA) Ali Wazir and former Daily Times editor Rashed Rahman barred from 4th Faiz International Festival to silence their Freedom of Speech in Lahore.


  • November 2018, the Supreme Court issues contempt notice to The News and Jang Group of Newspapers for publishing the Chief Justice remarks that “Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government lacks credibility, skill & strategy.” All the other newspapers published the same comments were ignored.


  • October 2018, the Supreme Court of Pakistan upholds the ban on airing neighbouring India’s transmission on local television channels.  


  • October 2018, under oppressive and authoritarian censorship, media completely ignored a massive rally of Pakhtun Tahhafuz Movement (PTM) led by Manzoor Mehsood (widely known as Mazoor Pashteen) in Bannu.


  • October 2018, The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) sent show-cause notices to the TV channels for airing the speech of Syed Nehal Hashmi, a firebrand former senator of opposition party Pakistan Muslim League PML-N. The former senator had criticized the armed forces of the country.


  • October 2018, under extreme pressure by the authorities and menacing censorship, newspapers Dawn and The News did not publish Cyril Almeida and Talat Hussain’s articles respectively.


  • October 2018, state-owned Pakistan Television (PTV) and several private channels censored opposition leader, Shahbaz Sharif's remarks, “there’s an unholy alliance between anti-graft agency, the National Accountability Court (NAB) and ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).”  Pakistan has a history of using law enforcement and anti-graft agencies to threaten political opponents.    


  • September 2018, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) warns TV channels criticism against Supreme Court collections of controversial Diamer- Bhasha Dam Fund.


  • September 2018, PEMRA (Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority) termed TV shows "quite bold" and "not reflective of majority of the Pakistani society."


  • August 2018, TV channel censored three-day sit-in, in a secluded North Waziristan village organized by the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM). The protesters were demanding justice for the two unarmed civilians allegedly killed by the security forces.


  • August 2018, Geo News forced to censor the interview of Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman, politician, President of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) and former Members of National Assembly (MNA), with host Saleem Safi. The politician was challenging the outcome of the General Elections held in July 2018.      


  • August 2018, the Pak­istan Telecommuni­cation Authority (PTA) informed the Senate Standing Com­mittee of possibility of Twitter shutdown because Twitter is not censoring the contents what PTA thinks is objectionable.  


  • August 2018, Islamabad police arrested a young couple alleging ‘obscene acts’ in a car parked and booked them under Section 294 of the PPC, an offence punishable with imprisonment for up to three months, or with fine, or both. They were later released on bail.


  • August 2018, Pakistan censored the screening of Indian film Mulk, alleging it anti-Muslim.


  • July 2018, police arrest hundreds of supporters of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), suspend mobile phone and transportation services in Lahore. The supporters have gathered in solidarity with former Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif and his daughter, Maryam Nawaz. An anti-graft court has convicted the former Prime Minister and his daughter.


  • July 2018, the state-owned Pakistan Television (PTV) bans the coverage of former Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif and his daughter, Maryam Nawaz homecoming, and political activism.


  • June 2018, Islamabad police raided a dance party and arrested 16 people including six girls alleging obscenity.


  • June 2018, under oppressive control, media bans the coverage of Rana Siraj, a contestant of the General Elections 2018, claims of being tortured and threatened if continued his loyalties to Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N).


  • June 2018, Political administration in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) bans Mohsin Dawar, an activist of Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) to enter the jurisdiction for three-month. Mr. Dawar is the resident of the jurisdiction he is restricted from. The administration alleges him of making subversive speeches against the government of Pakistan.


  • June 2018, a court in Multan-Pakistan defers the launch of the book of a female journalist, Reham Khan. The book is critical to many celebrities and her former husband Imran Khan, chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).        


  • June 2018, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) blocks website of a political party “Awami Workers Party (AWP).” The site was gradually restored after three days. 


  • May 2018, under draconian state censorship, newspaper The News refuses to publish the article of journalist Syed Talat Hussain.

           https://twitter.com/TalatHussain12/status/1001013546124283904 

  •  May 2018, under draconian state censorship, newspaper The News refuses to publish another article of journalist Babar Sattar.

            https://medium.com/@babarsattar_84468/the-age-of-bullies-d3d801a33ba9

  • May 2018, Pakistan blocks the release of another Indian film, “Veere Di Wedding,” citing un-Islamic contents.


  • May 2018, Pakistan bans screening of Indian films on Eid.


  • May 2018, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) of Pakistan summons TV channels CEOs and anchors over entertaining shows during Ramadan. Later, the summons was withdrawn.


  • May 2018, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) warns TV channels to air Azaan five times a day.


  • May 2018, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) bans Aaj TV from airing the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) program Sairbeen.


  • May 2018, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) bans Voice of America programme on TV show view 360.


  • May 2018, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) bans Express News show DWSawal.


  • May 2018, Pakistan restricts the delivery of the oldest English newspaper, DAWN in many parts of the country following the publication of an interview of the deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.


  • May 2018, the Press Council of Pakistan (PCP) serves notice to the English newspaper Dawn over an interview of the deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.


  • May 2018, Islamist-leaning judge of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) Shaukat Siddiqui bans entertaining TV show during Ramadan.


  • May 2018, State-owned media censor press conference of Prime Minister Shahid Abbasi on National Security Council (NSC).


  • May 2018, Pakistan passes Sharia Law styled Ehtram-e-Ramazan (Amendment) Bill contrary to senior citizens, elderly, sick, minorities and outdoor workers. The bill carries a punishment of 3-month jail and Rs. 500 fine for the people who smoke or eat openly during Ramadan.


  • May 2018, State-owned Pakistan Television (PTV) abruptly terminates the contract of female anchor Sana Ejaz on her affiliation with the Pashtoon Tahaffuz movement (PTM).


  • May 2018, Pakistan bans Indian film Raazi, disputing the film script as a distortion of the facts.


  • May 2018, Islamists-leaning judge Shaukat Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) warns Television anchors of life-ban for not complying with his rigid Ehtram-e-Ramazan decree during Ramadan.


  • April 2018, Islamabad police raided a weekend dance party and arrested 40 youths. Some young women sustained injuries during police aggression.  


  • April 2018, The Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar, insinuated extending contempt of the court ordinance (COCO) 2003 beyond six months to the period, in his words, “until the accused purges himself before the court.”


  • April 2018, the provincial government of Sindh censors the coverage of intermediate exams to cover up imminent irregularities. Despite the ban, zoology paper was leaked hours before the start of the exams.  


  • April 2018, following the Supreme Court ruling banning criticism on the judiciary, media blacks out a protest against the disqualification of Khawaja Asif, who was removed from the portfolio of Defence Minister ensuing a disputed court ruling.


  • April 2018, following the Supreme Court ruling banning criticism on the judiciary, news channels partially censor and blur the speeches of the ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam.


  •  April 2018, following the Supreme Court ruling banning criticism on the judiciary, Geo News censors Sunday show of the host, Talat Hussain. The show was about the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Saqib Nisar’s VVIP motorcade of 36 vehicles; the Chief justice had alternatively been clamoring against VVIP culture.


  • April 2018, the Lahore High Court (LHC) blocks airing the speeches of the ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam for 15 days. The court terms the speeches as “anti-judiciary.”


  • April 2018, Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) stop Geo News reporter Ameen Hafeez and cameraman Ashraf Nankanvi from the coverage of Sikh pilgrims arriving from India.


  • April 2018, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) issues another warning to TV channels against criticising judiciary and military.


  • April 2018, journalist Babar Sattar claims his weekly column in TheNews censored in the Geo and the Jang Group (that publishes The News) for mentioning the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM).


  • ​April 2018, all five channels of the Geo TV Network pulled off-air in Pakistan. Both Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) and the Ministry of Information have denied ordering the shut-down of the channels.


  • March 2018, the security staffs at the National Accountability Court (NAB) have blocked journalists and media workers from entering the court in Islamabad where ousted Prime Ministers, Nawaz Sharif appear to face corruption investigations, whereas all the ministers and political workers are allowed with mobile phones and without security checks.    


  • March 2018, the provincial Government of Punjab bans dancing in schools declaring it as ‘immoral and irreligious.’


  • March 2018, The Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC) of Pakistan censored Bollywood (Indian) film Pari in Pakistan decreeing the film’s script, dialogues and storyline are non-Islamic and anti-Muslim.


  • February 2018, Pakistan reaches out to Google to censor arbitrarily blasphemy contents to intensify onslaught on social media activists.


  • February 2018, the district council in Dera Ghazi Khan (DI Khan) imposes a ban on un-Islamic beards.  


  • February 2018, Pakistan bars private electronic and print media to cover the first-ever international moot on human rights on the 70th Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) anniversary. 


  • February 2018, fearing a backlash from strengthening jihadist and the government, cab provider Careem cancels all promotion codes for Valentine Day. 


  • February 2018, Pakistan banned Bollywood's movie “Padman.” The movie deals with menstrual hygiene, a taboo to talk about in the country.


  • February 2018, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) issued contempt notices to the owner and four employees of Waqt TV, over some of the comments in the show “Apna Apna Gareban.” The TV show investigates the accusations that some lawyers have seized the land of a football ground in the capital Islamabad.   


  • February 2018, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) reminds TV channels not to air or promote valentine programs.    


  • February 2018, the banned militant groups Baloch separatist United Baloch Army (UBA), and Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF) called off media boycott in the province of Balochistan. During violent boycott which lasted more than four months, newspapers delivery was cut off, and media houses and press clubs were attacked.


  • January 2018, Pakistan increased the fines 1,000 percent under Ehtram-e-Ramazan Ordinance, a law prohibits eating or drinking in public during fasting hours of the Muslim’s month of Ramdan.   


  • January 2018, Pakistan blocks Pushto language Radio Mashaal after state-owned spy agency’s (ISI) accusations of propaganda against Pakistan.    


  • January 2018, the police stopped the Institute for Peace and Secular Studies faculty and students from holding a vigil to mark the death anniversary of Salman Taseer in Lahore. Salman Taseer, the former Governor of the Punjab province killed by his guard for his advocacy to repeal blasphemy laws.  


POLITICAL PARTIES ATTACKS AGAINST FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

  • December 2018, Ousted Prime Minister and an unofficial leader of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), Nawaz Sharif’s guards assaulted and injured cameraman Syed Wajid Ali, working for Samaa TV. The guards repeatedly kicked the cameraman in the face sending him into a concussion. Mr. Sharif walked away from the scene.


  • October 2018, the province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) department of elementary and secondary education banned male chief guests and media coverage of the girls’ sports events in the province. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) rules the province.


  • October 2018, Punjab Health Minister Dr. Yasmin Rashid, who belongs to ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), bans all women entering the minister’s block at the Civil Secretariat in Lahore if they are not wearing DUPATTA (headscarf).


  • September 2018, ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) blocks official media including state-owned Pakistan Television (PTV) and Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) covering Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Peshawar.


  • August 2018, according to Channel 24 cameraman Aqib, Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid snatched and broke his phone as he tries to make a video of him shoving a poor woman. The woman had come to the Minister’s house requesting financial help.


  • July 2018, Imran Khan, chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and a contender to become the next Prime Minister of Pakistan, extended his full support for brutal blasphemy laws and pledged to turn Pakistan into an Islamic State while speaking to the clerics at the Ulema and Mashaikh Conference. Mr. Khan is known for his sympathy and financial aid to the terrorist groups such as Darul Uloom Haqqania.


  • July 2018, Syed Haroon Ahmed Sultan Bukhari, an election contender of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) from PP-275 Muzaffargarh, declares women voting as a taboo (HARAM).  


  • June 2018, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Mansehra district vice-president Razaullah Khan, along with other party activists threaten PTI chief Imran Khan with a sit-in at his residence if the women are allowed to participate in the general elections.


  • June 2018, Wikipedia locked female journalist Reham Khan’s page after several attempts of malign her personal information. The efforts were consequently made before of the launch of her book, in which, she has exposed many celebrities and politicians of Pakistan including her former husband Imran Khan, chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).        


  • May 2018, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) nominates Orya Maqbool Jan as the interim Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Orya Maqbool Jan is widely known for his live misogynistic edicts, corporal punishment to wives, hate speech against Muslim and non-Muslim minorities and support for blasphemy and Sharia laws.   


  • May 2018, Jihadist-leaning Jamiat Ulema-e Islam (F) workers attack and tortured several media persons and public in Peshawar.


  • May 2018, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) bans self-proclaimed politician-turned-preacher and the member of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Amir Liaquat for 30 days from appearing on the TV screen and hosting shows at Islamists-leaning Bol TV. The anchor is an ultraconservative supporter of blasphemy laws and has justified enforced disappearance on a live show in 2017. He used babies as “giveaways” in his shows in 2013. His hate speech and promoting blasphemy laws have threatened lives of the minorities living in Pakistan.   


  • May 2018, Arif Abbasi, a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) member of the Punjab provincial assembly (MPA), makes religiously-racist remarks against a minority MPA, Tariq Gill in the Punjab assembly.


  • May 2018, the National Assembly of Pakistan passed a resolution to re-name Dr. Abdul Salam Physics Centre of the Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU) after Muslim scientist Abu al Fatah Abdul Rehman Al-Khazini. A fierce opponent of minorities, Captain Muhammad Safdar of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) presented the resolution. He is the son-in-law of the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The other major parties in the house, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) are also the signatories of the resolution. Dr. Abdul Salam belongs to the beleaguered Muslim-Ahmadiyya minority and the first noble laureate of Pakistan.


  • April 28, Bilawal Bhutto, the co-chairperson of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) ordered the provincial Sindh Government to allocate 150-acre land to Islamist Dawat-e-Islami for starting a religious university.  


  • April 2018, Pakistan defers a case against Islamist cleric Khahdim Rizvi and co-conspirators. In November 2017, Pakistan had surrendered to the demands of the Islamists group Tehreek-i-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLY) after they seized capital city of Islamabad and later spread to the other parts of the country. The TLY demands included stiffer penalties over blasphemy, the resignation of those sitting Ministers critical of blasphemy laws, fast registration of blasphemy cases, and induction of more religious holidays. Pakistan granted full impunity to the Islamists from their killings, assaults, kidnapping, and torture to the journalists and the police. The Islamists also attacked the public and the government property and the houses of parliamentarians. The government also handed cash to the Islamists as a travel allowance to go back to their hometowns.


  • April 2018, supporters of provincial Agriculture Minister Jaffar Khan Mandokhail assaulted a TV journalist Asad Khan Betini in Zhob, Quetta. The journalist was investigating the reports of corruption in the Minister’s jurisdiction.   


  • April 2018, a councilor Rai Mohammad Khan assaulted and detained a DawnNewsTV reporter, Sheikh in Sheikhupura, Punjab. The reporter was following up with the reports of below average materials in a sewerage project in the area.   


  • ​April 2018, to win the Islamist’s votes in the coming elections, the provincial government of Punjab has amended a law to increase the number of the loudspeakers from one to four at the mosques. According to the Punjab Sound Systems Regulation Act, 2015, only one loudspeaker was permitted to control hate speech and promote blasphemy laws that had resulted in the killings of both Muslim and non-Muslim minorities and promulgated after the Peshawar Army Public School attack.


  • April 2018, the Inspector General (IG) of the Punjab police informs the Supreme Court of Pakistan that the killer of journalist Zeeshan Butt an affiliate of the ruling party Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N).


  • April 2018, a provincial lawmaker of the Punjab Assembly, Malik Taimoor Masood, belonging to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), asks for a ban on word TALAAQ (divorce) on TV shows terming it damaging to Islam.


  • March 2018, Asif Ali Zardari, Co-Chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the former President of Pakistan defended infamously and now under arrest police officer Anwar Rao in TV interview and called him “hard working boy.” The disgraced police officer has allegedly killed 444 civilians in fake Police Encounters. The PPP government kept him posted in one jurisdiction more than a decade against the procedural transfers and postings.


  • March 2018, a court indicted five men for the murder of a female activist Perween Rahman in Karachi. Ms. Rahman was murdered in 2013 and working in one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Karachi for poverty alleviation. During interrogation, the accused revealed that the Awami National Party (ANP) had hired Taliban militants to kill Ms. Rahman because she was resisting against their plans to build a business on a confiscated piece of land.  


  • March 2018, Nawa-i-Waqt group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rameeza Majid Nizami alleged that the staff of Kashmala Tariq, the Federal Ombudsperson for Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace, illegally detained Waqt News television team and physically assaulted journalist, Matiullah Jan. According to the reports, the Minister was dissatisfied with the interview recorded earlier and wanted the footage back. Ms. Rameeza supported her claims with a video footage. 


  • February 2018, the provincial Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government led by Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) announce a massive grant of Rs300 million for Darul Uloom Haqqania. The Haqqania seminaries led by infamous Taliban supported Samiul Haq. Bothe Samiul Haq and his Darul Uloom Haqqania are involved in many suicide attacks and mass murders. The PTI, led by Imran Khan, started funding Darul Uloom Haqqania in 2016 purportedly to win Jihadi voters and showcasing their street power in DHARANAS (sit-ins). Since 2016, the Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has given away more than USD five million to Darul Uloom Haqqania.  


  • February 2018, Senator Mufti Abdul Sattar of political-jihadist party Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Fazl (JUI-F), targeted female Senator Nasreen Jalil with a sexist about her dress by saying, a woman like her should have an "appearance like Muslims". Ironically, the female Senator was targeted while chairing Senate's Functional Committee on Human Rights.


  • February 2018, political-Jihadist parties Jamaat-e-Islami (JIP) and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) celebrated and turned acquitted men as their heroes in Mashaal murder case. It is widely believed that the acquitted men belong to the political-Jihadi parties. Ajmal Mayar is the most controversial man acquitted, who along with other men were identified by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT).  In April 2017, an angry mob lynched Mashal Khan, a journalism student at the Abdul Wali Khan University in Mardan for his liberal views and Freedom of Expression on social media. Mob hit him with stones, sticks, shot, and threw his body from the second floor of the campus to death, and later tried to set his body ablaze. Police admitted after his brutal murder that Mashal’s social media accounts contained no blasphemous material and many fake accounts were detected using his name. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) councilor Arif Mardan is still at large in this case.


  • February 2018, Imran Khan, head of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), threatened a journalist by responding “I am very dangerous.” The journalist was asking a question about his appearance in the court of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).


  • January 2018, Pakistan Muslim League and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) conspired with the jihadist’s Tehreek Khuddam Ahl-i-Sunnat Waljamaat (TKASW) for the PP-20 by-election in Chakwal.  


MEDIA SITUATION IN PAKISTAN

  • December 2018, journalists gathered in Peshawar to protest the prevailing massive job and pay cuts in the media. As many as 2000 journalists pushed out of the jobs over the period of last two months in Pakistan, while many veteran journalists.  



  • December 2018, THE ALL PAKISTAN NEWSPAPERS SOCIETY (APNS) AND THE PAKISTAN BROADCASTERS ASSOCIATION (PBA) REJECT FEDERAL INFORMATION MINISTER CHAUDHRY FAWAD HUSSAIN’S CLAIM.  https://www.dawn.com/news/1449946 




  • November 2018, media employees face massive job cuts in Pakistan in the name of “rightsizing.” According to a report published in Daily Dawn, the ruling government has reportedly cut its media spend by more than 70 percent and companies by almost 50pc. https://www.dawn.com/news/1446393 



  • November 2018, under thick clouds of oppressive censorship, veteran journalists and critical to the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and military; Matiullah Jan, Murtaza Solangi, Nusrat Javeed, and Talat Hussain laid off by their employers within few days.


  • November 2018, Saqib Nisar, the Chief Justice of Pakistan, ordered Capital TV, Daily Times, Nawai Waqt, The Nation, Bol News, 7 News, Star Asia, Khabrain and the ARYgroup to pay salaries and past dues to their employees within the timeline set by the apex court.


  • October 2018, TV channel Waqt News closed all the offices across the country and laid-off its employees citing down-sizing. The channel was operational since 2007.


  • October 2018, the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) demanded the Federal Government lift the ban of the government advertisements for the newspapers of Sindh province. The CPNE passed a resolution and asked the Federal Government for the distribution of advertisements to the newspapers of Sindh by following the National Finance Commission (NFC) award.


  • October 2018, Dunya News Television trims 20 percent salaries of its employees.


  • October 2018, Bol News TV Channel fires and bans 234 employees from entering the building after they demanded the outstanding payment of more than six months.  


  • September 2018, the Sindh province cancels the registration of as many as 75 ‘dummy newspapers’ registration to save millions from the distribution of advertisement campaigns.


  • May 2018, Pakistan’s former chief spy Asad Durrani admits in his newly launched book, “the Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace,” funding for TV channels buyouts to silence the media and avoid scrutiny.


  • May 2018, BOL News, an infamous channel for selling fake degrees across the world and luring viewers with expensive giveaways like big houses and fancy cars in the live telecast, did not pay its employees for more than three months.


  • April 2018, one of the most celebrated and veteran comedians, Anwar Maqsood trolled and faced backlash over his political sarcasm on YouTube.


  • April 2018, TV channel the Express News runs a fake story of banning the Urdu language in all campuses of the Sindh University. The story could deepen the segregation and exclusion of highly divided urban and the rural population of Sindh. Many lives have been lost over the years because of the lingual divisions.  


  •  March 2018, TV channels including Geo, Capital TV, Channel 7, Channel 5, Business Plus, Waqat TV and Aaj TV have not paid wages to their media workers in some cases, for more than past two months.


  • February 2018, a joint investigation team (JIT) declared television anchor Shahid Masood's claims made against the convict of little Zainab rape and murder case. Shahid made these claims in newsONE late night show. It is shamefully common for self-proclaimed journalists and news channels in Pakistan to use sensitive issues to increase ratings and work toward hidden political agenda. Neither the channel nor the anchor has issued an apology.   


DEVELOPMENT

  • September 2018, Speaking at a media convention at the Karachi Press Club, Murtaza Wahab, an adviser to the Sindh Chief Minister on Information and Law, assured the provincial journalists to resolve the issue relating to the journalists welfare on priority basis: some of the issues including health insurance cards and journalists’ housing scheme in Karachi. 


FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION UNDER ATTACK ON CAMPUSES

  • October 2018, Five Punjab University (PU) students of religious Islami Jamiat Taleba (IJT), thrashed a man for sitting next to his wife on campus while security and bystanders looked on. Later, the University issued a press release informing the expulsion of the students from the campus.


  • June 2018, Bahria University Islamabad campus separates male and female student’s cafeteria.


  • May 2018, Minhaj University (Madrassah) expels 320 girls from Lahore dormitory after they attended an Iftar party. The decision came after a leaked video of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) Secretary General Khurram Nawaz Gandapur yelling at girls and their freedom. A Canadian cleric, Tahir-ul-Qadri leads Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT).    


  • May 2018, the management of the Bahria University Karachi Campus (BUKC) issues strict dress code for female students and ask male and female student to keep six-inch distance while talking to each other.


  • April 2018, the Gomal University bans alumnus Manzoor Mehsood (widely known as Mazoor Pashteen) from entering the Dera Ismail Khan campus. He heads the newly formed Pushtun Tahaffuz (Protection) Movement (PTM).


  • April 2018, the provincial Sindh Government confiscates public universities of autonomy and seized the control from the Governor.


  • April 2018, Habib University in Karachi abruptly canceled an event about emerging social movements in Pakistan, and one of the speakers was escorted off the campus after one of the incumbent’s visit.


  • April 2018, the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) canceled the death anniversary commemoration of Masha Khan after warnings from the unnamed authorities. In April 2017, an angry mob lynched Mashal Khan, a journalism student at the Abdul Wali Khan University in Mardan for his liberal views and Freedom of Expression on social media. Mob hit him with stones, sticks, shot, and threw his body from the second floor of the campus to death, and later tried to set his body ablaze. Police admitted after his brutal murder that Mashal’s social media accounts contained no blasphemous material and many fake accounts were detected using his name.


  • April 2018, the management of the Punjab University in the Department of Sociology relinquished an Assistant Professor  Dr. Ammar Ali Jan. He was working voluntarily and promoting the idea of non-violence and critical thinking.   


  • April 2018, authorities warned Gomal University in Dera Ismail Khan about the courses encouraging free and critical thinking.


  • February 2018, the University of Peshawar suspended classes to deter student’s celebrations on Valentine’s Day.   


  • February 2018, a video shows the staff of the Avicenna Medical College in Lahore, smashing the phones seized from the students in a routine search.


  • January 2018, the provincial Sindh Government make drug testing mandatory for the students enrolled in the government and private educational institutions without setting the limits of consumption.


  • January 2018, An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) remanded 196 students of the Punjab University on a 14-day judicial custody in Lahore. The students were arrested after violent confrontations between two student groups.


  • January 2018, a grade 12 student, who had returned from a jihadi sit-in, killed his college principal in Charsadda. The student accused the victim of blasphemy in a video.  


  • January 2018, the University of Karachi started monitoring students social media accounts and banned arbitrary activities.


  • January 2018, Punjab University Vice-Chancellor Zaffar Mueen Nasar resigned after coercion from the provincial Government of Punjab to give part of the university’s land to a religious party.