A resolution has been submitted in the Punjab provincial Assembly in Pakistan, condemning attacks on journalists and rights activists in the country.
According to Dawn, the resolution was submitted by independent Member of Provincial Assembly (MPA) Jugnoo Mohsin, who drew the attention of the state towards growing incidents of torture and murder of journalists.
“What is happening to journalists and rights activists here is nothing new. We have fought long and hard for whatever little freedom we enjoy,” she said in the Assembly.
Mohsin also talked about the recent attack on journalist Asad Ali Toor and the ban on Hamid Mir’s show.
“Being a journalist myself with a 30-year experience and since my husband Najam Sethi has been attacked, arrested and disappeared on a number of occasions for his constitutional right to freedom of expression, I know what it feels like so. I am speaking for all the families of the oppressed today,” she said.
Addressing the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) treasury benches, she said: “Tomorrow you may be in opposition and you too will need a free press then. You must stand for freedom of expression today to guard your own rights, which you may have to exercise tomorrow.”
In a joint statement with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Azma Bokhari, the independent MPA demanded the government to ensure the protection of the rights of journalists and rights activists, and justice in the recent cases of torture and murder of journalists, reported Dawn.
She also requested the Chair to table a resolution for the protection of the free media and for the application of the law against those who have persecuted independent journalists.
Last month, an Islamabad-based journalist Asad Ali Toor, known for criticism of the country’s establishment, was attacked in Pakistan’s capital. The attackers broke into his house and attacked him brutally.
Prior to that, an unidentified assailant shot and wounded Absar Alam, a television journalist and a prominent critic of the government, outside his house in Islamabad.
Hamid Mir, the host of the flagship news program “Capital Talk”, was taken off the air for three days after he spoke against the rising curbs on freedom of expression in the country and about the safety of his colleagues, following the recent attack on Toor.
Other media outlets have come under pressure from authorities not to criticise government institutions or the judiciary.
Freedom of the press has long been a problem in Pakistan but the situation has deteriorated markedly under Imran Khan, who has dismissed allegations of attacks on the Pakistani press as a “joke”.
Earlier, three international rights groups on Thursday voiced grave concern at the recent attacks on journalists in Pakistan and mounting pressure on scribes critical of the Imran Khan-led government.
Human Rights Watch (HRW), Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists called for prompt prosecution of those suspected of criminal responsibility, reported Pajhwok Afghan News. (ANI)