May 19, 2023

By Hamza Saeed


While some of the journalists who have been picked up by the police have been released, the journalists’ fraternity at large is under threat, says the President of the Lahore Press Club, Azam Chaudhry. “The Press Club released a statement two days ago, where the action of picking up journalists present at the Corp Commander house was condemned as they were there to report the incident,” he said while speaking to “It is a direct violation of the right to freedom of the press. Even now many of the journalists continue to remain under threat.”

Azam Chaudhry also said that some of the journalists had also been manhandled by the police.

On May 17, Jahangir Hayat, a journalist working for the Daily The Business, was apprehended at his home in Shah Jamal by a group comprising two police personnel and six unidentified individuals. The assailants subjected Hayat and his family to physical assault, resulting in severe injuries, including broken teeth and a hand injury.

While speaking with, Jahangir said that he along with his family were constantly being harassed by the police. He added that there was no reason given by the authorities. No arrest warrants were presented during the raid, in fact, it was claimed by the men who picked him up that Hayat was wanted in connection with serious criminal offenses, such as murder and kidnapping. However, Hayat vehemently denies any involvement in such activities and maintains his commitment to fair and impartial reporting.

The journalists are all being picked up through geo-fencing where their cell phones are traced. Because of this one journalist who was using his father’s phone was not traced – rather the police picked up his father. However, he was released later.

Cameraman Salman from Neo TV was also picked up and later released. A raid took place at freelance journalist Shahid Aslam’s house, however, eventually, he was also not picked up.

“Currently, only Imran Riaz has not been released,”

says Azam Chaudhry. “A driver from GNN TV was also picked up, however, he was not there as an employee of GNN but as a political supporter, it was later found out. Therefore we are not counting him. We are in talks with the information ministry and have given all the names of the journalists from our side so that there is no confusion.”

Some of the journalists have on condition of anonymity said that they are not happy with the lack of response by journalists unions on the matter.

Azam Chaudhry says that there is no need for agitation when the matter can be resolved through talks.

But despite Lahore Press Club’s strong condemnation of the arrest of council member Jahangir Hayat, and the violence of the raid conducted by the police at his residence early morning, there are concerns that have sparked about basic press freedom, and the safety of journalists in the current political climate.

Meanwhile, outside Punjab, a journalist and social media activist in the Ghotki district has been held under the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance (MPO) since Tuesday, despite intervention from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Media Professionals (CPJMP). The journalist’s alleged actions of inciting road blockades and sit-ins led to his detention. Efforts are currently underway for his release, including an application to the Sindh High Court. Justice Rasheed A. Razvi has deemed the allegations against him insufficient.

The detention of these journalists has also raised some serious concerns about the use of the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance (MPO) as a means to suppress dissent and curtail freedom of expression.

The incident has the international community closely monitoring the situation, and organizations advocating for press freedom and human rights have been urged to intervene and ensure the safety of journalists and their families in Pakistan.


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