August 07, 2021
LAHORE—Pakistan Federal Union of Journalist (PFUJ) has strongly condemned the arrest of two senior journalists Syed Imran Shafqat and Amir Mir, on Saturday and demanded their immediate release.
The PFUJ also announced holding countrywide protests on Monday against growing incidents of journalists’ abductions in Pakistan.
The abductors were reportedly from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) which, PFUJ believes is involved in taking action against journalists at the behest of the government.
PFUJ President Shahzada Zulfiqar (pictured, left) and Secretary-General Nasir Zaidi, in a joint statement, urged the federal government to take immediate measures for the release of the two Lahore-based journalists and take concrete measures to protect journalists.
“Such illegal and unwarranted arrests show government’s disrespect towards freedom of the press, free speech, and expression in the country and such draconian measures are against the civil liberties guaranteed in the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan,” they said.
PFUJ leaders said that misuse of state authorities and agencies for suppressing the voices of dissent is indicative of a denial of human rights and abuse of powers which will be resisted by all means.
“Agencies like FIA are meant for protecting the nation’s interests, not for the abduction of civil society, journalists, and right activists,” they said.
The PFUJ leaders noted that this was not the first time such abductions took place during the Tehreek-i-Insaf rule. They recalled that since the installation of Imran Khan as prime minister, FIA is being used to harass journalists and media workers.
PFUJ pointed out that in September last year, 49 journalists were served notices by FIA under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA).
Similarly, in July this year, senior journalist and anchor Nadeem Malik was served notice by FIA’s counter-terrorism wing.
“Policies of Tehreek-i-Insaf government are anti-media, and apparently the sitting government is against freedom of the press and free speech and expression,” the PFUJ leadership said.
PFUJ has demanded strong action against abductors of Imran Shafqat and Amir Mir and their immediate release. It also asked all the unions of journalists and press clubs to arrange countrywide protests on Monday against growing acts of forced disappearances and abduction of journalists and media workers.
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