Islamabad [Pakistan], November 3 (ANI): The suspicious killing of journalist Arshad Sharif in Kenya has highlighted the security concerns of scribes not only in Pakistan but also overseas.
Despite the change in governments, the harassment of journalists continues in the country, according to a report from Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
Arshad Sharif (49), a senior Pakistani journalist was killed in cold blood on October 24 in Kenya when he was driving from Magadi to Nairobi, accompanied by his brother Khurram Ahmed at around 10:00 pm.
Highlighting the report, Voices of Vienna underlined that Pakistan has a history of media blackouts and suppression of dissenting voices. It is 157 among 180 countries on its World Press Freedom Index list.
The case of the killing of journalist Arshad Sharif draws an impression of the involvement of the Pakistani security agencies behind Sharif’s killing as the journalist was a sharp critic of Pakistan’s military. Earlier in May, two FIRs were lodged against Sharif under sedition charges for his alleged “anti-military remarks.”
Moreover, the journalist was also sacked from the ARY Network for allowing Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shahbaz Gill to make controversial remarks against the army during a news programme, reported Voices of Vienna.
Arshad Sharif’s case is not the first in which a Pakistani journalist has been threatened, tortured, intimidated, or killed in questionable circumstances; in the past, local security agencies have targeted activists and journalists like Saleem Shahzad and Hamid Mir for their alleged “anti-military” stance. Somehow, this incident has prompted worries about the safety of Pakistani journalists.
Since Shehbaz Sharif took over as prime minister in late April, several Pakistani journalists have reported intimidation by army-related agencies.
Pakistan is one of the world’s deadliest countries for journalists, with three to four murders each year that are often linked to corruption or illegal trafficking and go completely unpunished, according to a Paris-based media watchdog.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has cautioned the Pakistan army’s high command against harassment of the media.
Any journalist who crosses the red lines dictated by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) is liable to be the target of in-depth surveillance that could lead to abduction and detention for varying lengths of time in the state’s prisons or less official jails. (ANI)