Karachi : Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has strongly condemned the arrest of a journalist in Karachi and termed it as a part of government’s policy of hybrid war with the media to muzzle the voice of free Media in Pakistan.
“Today’s arrest and later release of Mansoor Khan, Resident Editor of daily The Nation, Karachi is a proof that the present government in collusion with state institutions is bent upon muzzling the free voice of the media in this country in an attempt to subdue the media and to make them dance to their tunes,” a joint statement issued by PFUJ President Afzal Butt and Secretary General Ayub Jan Sarhandi said on Sunday.
Mr Mansoor Khan was arrested by men in plain clothes, blindfolded after covering a politics event in Karachi in spite of the fact that he showed his identity card to prove his identity. He was later handed over to Rangers who kept him in illegal arrest for several hours before being released.
The two leaders recalled that the Abbottabad Declaration of PFUJ had in detail informed the National as well as international community about the efforts being made by the state institutions in Pakistan to curb free voice in this country.
Mr Afzal Butt and Ayub Jan Sarhandi said that previously it was PFUJ’s impression that the government had no role to play in this anti-media policy and the illegal actions being taken against the media houses.
“ The government’s complete silence on this issue has forced the PFUJ to think that the government was hands in glove with this state institution to destroy the free Media in this country,” the two leaders said.
The PFUJ leaders also expressed their surprise about the instructions being directly given by a state institution to the media industry and telling them how to behave.
“ This Media was told to paint a rosy picture even during 1971 events at the eastern front of country and to portray that everything was under control. However everyone knows what happened next,” the PFUJ leaders said. “Today the same tactics are being used by the very same institution but we will not allow this to happen this time”
The two leaders called upon the civil society, human rights activists and political leaders to join hands with the media industry against these tyrannical measures otherwise it would be too late for everyone.
The PFUJ leadership decided to expedite efforts for holding an international conference on the state of freedom of expression in Pakistan as early as possible.
The PFUJ leaders said that Pakistani print and electronic media are facing a hybrid war where the state and state institutions are stifling their financial resources and at the same time Independent journalists are being harassed, black-mailed and physically assaulted to force them to toe the line.
“Let everyone knows that no amount of pressure from
Any state institution or government will succeed as the media industry has won the Press Freedom through great sacrifices and it will not allow these sacrifices go down the drain.
The PFUJ said it was one of the most dark periods for the free Media of Pakistan but vowed that every journalist would fight till end to defeat the nefarious designs of the establishment.