November 07, 2016
LAHORE - The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said Monday a smear campaign against author and analyst Dr Ayesha Siddiqa on electronic and social media is a disgraceful spectacle at odds with the values of a democratic and tolerant society.
In a statement the Commission said the character assassination that Dr Siddiqa has had to endure at the hands of the media, especially social media, since her recent participation in a conference in Afghanistan, was outrageous.
“The campaign branding Dr Siddiqa a traitor is a reflection on the media entities involved as well as the general climate in which those professing monopoly over patriotism hasten to brand anyone a traitor who dares to expose shortcomings in Pakistan’s policies.
“Granted that Pakistan is in difficult straits and finding itself challenged on many fronts, but that should not be an invitation to abandon tolerance, decency or deny citizens freedom of expression and thought. Why is it so difficult to imagine that citizens outside the official quarters can also think of and suggest ways towards solving Pakistan’s problems?
“We sympathize with Dr Siddiqa and all those who are at the receiving end of this madness, but we are more concerned that the pervasive climate of intolerance and paranoia will stifle the voices of human rights and reason, robbing the nation of valuable advice on making proper choices.
“The authorities who have been overly concerned of late regarding the use of the cyber space should take notice. Public condemnation of such vilification tactics is also vital to challenge this assault on reason and freedom of expression.”
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