On the World Press Freedom Day, Pakistan firmly denounced the oppression of the media in Indian Jammu and Kashmir and urged an end to the “campaign of harassment and intimidation” by the Modi-government.
According to the latest report compiled Reporters Without Borders, India had dropped two places on the global press freedom index — from 140 to 142, in a list of 180 countries. Norway is ranked first in the index while Pakistan is at 145. North Korea is at 180.
Fundamental freedoms of the people in IOJ&K must be restored. Kashmiri journalists charged under draconian laws must be freed immediately. https://t.co/WYKoyFQ4hx
— Shah Mahmood Qureshi (@SMQureshiPTI) May 3, 2020
“Today, on World Press Freedom Day, we express solidarity with the journalist fraternity in IOJ&K, which continues to face a relentless campaign of harassment and intimidation,” Aisha Farooqui, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a statement.
“While saluting their exceptional courage, we also honour the sacrifice of those Kashmiri journalists who have laid down their lives in the line of duty. The latest among those martyrs was Shujaat Bukhari in June 2018,” she said.
“It is clear that the RSS-inspired BJP Government is driven by the sole purpose of concealing its blatant human rights violations in IOJ&K and is bent on suppressing autonomous voices of the media and journalists. The situation has become more dangerous after India’s illegal and unilateral actions of 5 August 2019,” read the statement.
“Pakistan denounces this campaign of harassment and coercion and urges New Delhi to instantly lift all restrictions; remove trivial lawsuits registered against Kashmiri journalists, and restore all fundamental freedoms of people.”
Charges Against Pakistan
The latest report of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has reportedly lambasted the country for its poor human rights record saying, “The state of human rights across the country is indeed dire.”
Pakistan has been one of the most notorious countries in awarding the death sentence with 584 people awarded death penalty last year, out of which 17 were sentenced for “blasphemy”, and 15 were executed. However, more troublesome is Pakistan’s abysmal human rights record.
According to the Human Rights Watch world report on Pakistan, women, religious minorities, transgender people and civil society members faced violent attacks and persecution with the Government unable to bring perpetrators to justice.
Media outlets have always borne the brunt of Pakistani establishment whenever they have reported inconvenient truths.
Sajid Hussain, editor of Balochistan Times, who had to flee Pakistan in 2012 was found dead in Sweden after being abducted. Although police are yet to confirm the cause of death, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) a leading international NGO formed, has pointed fingers towards Pakistani intelligence agencies.
Another journalist Kadafi Zaman from Norway was arrested by police in July while covering a political rally and was beaten up. Zaman was released after three days.
In February, Ahmad Waqass Goraya, a Pakistani blogger living in Rotterdam, was allegedly attacked and threatened outside his home at the behest of two personnel of Pakistan intelligence agency – ISI, while Baloch human rights activist Rashid Hussain has been missing ever since he was abducted in the United Arab Emirates.