Pakistan

2014


Blog   |   Pakistan

Threats and attacks against press amid political crisis in Pakistan

A protester enters the newsroom of the state-run Pakistan Television which was stormed on Monday. (AFP/Aamir Qureshi)

The ongoing political crisis in Pakistan turned deadly over the weekend with three protesters dead and at least 500 wounded in the capital, Islamabad. As is often the case, the press was not spared from violence, with dozens of journalists covering the rally injured by police or protesters, according to news reports and the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists.

Alerts   |   Pakistan

Several journalists attacked while covering 'Freedom March' in Pakistan

New York, August 25, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on all sides to respect the role of journalists and media workers covering an anti-government demonstration in Pakistan. Journalists from various news outlets have been attacked while covering the "Freedom March", according to news reports.

Blog   |   Pakistan

Q&A: Pakistan's Hamid Mir speaks about climate for press freedom following attack

Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir after being attacked by unknown assailants. (AP/Anjum Naveed)

In April, Geo News senior anchor Hamid Mir was shot multiple times shortly after a CPJ delegation met with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who pledged to take several steps to improve journalist security. The investigation into the attack has yielded no accountability. And since the attack, two arrest warrants have been issued by courts in Quetta and Lahore against Mir, and Geo continues to face challenges.

August 5, 2014 3:39 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

Blasphemy charges, threats loom for outspoken journalist in Pakistan

Forty-nine year-old magazine editor and publisher Shoaib Adil fled his home in the eastern city of Lahore last month and went into hiding with his wife and children. Adil faces threats and possible charges of blasphemy--a crime punishable by life imprisonment or death--in connection with a book he published in 2007, written by a judge belonging to a religious minority group in Pakistan, as well as with his magazine, which covers sensitive issues. For years, Adil has been able to navigate the challenges that come with his critical journalistic work. But now he faces the possibility of being unable to live or work safely in Pakistan.

Blog   |   Afghanistan, Pakistan

Seeking release of Pakistani journalist Faizullah Khan, jailed in Afghanistan

People buy garments ahead of the Eid al-Fitr holiday in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Thursday. (AP/Mohammad Sajjad)

It's not often that CPJ agrees with the Pakistan government, but here is one of the rare occasions when we do. While Pakistan journalists have been pushing for quite a while for the release of one of their colleagues, Faizullah Khan, being held in Nangahar in Afghanistan, the Islamabad government has apparently been working diplomatic back channels. But Thursday, Pervez Rashid, Pakistan's minister for information, went public. He urged Afghanistan's leader to issue a presidential pardon. "I appeal to Afghan President Hamid Karzai to use his powers," to pardon Khan, Rashid said in a press conference in capital Islamabad. He also said the government will pursue his release through legal channels.

Alerts   |   Afghanistan, Pakistan

Pakistani reporter sentenced to 4-year prison term in Afghanistan

New York, July 14, 2014--A Pakistani television journalist was convicted on charges of travelling to Afghanistan without travel documents and sentenced to four years in prison, Pakistani officials said on Sunday. He had initially been accused of spying by Afghan authorities, according to news reports.

July 14, 2014 4:12 PM ET

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Case   |   Pakistan

Bomb explodes outside home of Express News' Peshawar bureau chief

Jamshed Baghwan and his wife were leaving their home in the Murshidabad neighborhood in Peshawar on July 2, 2014, when they saw unidentified assailants on motorcycles placing a bomb outside their house, The Express Tribune reported. Baghwan is the Peshawar bureau chief of Express News, a TV channel owned by Express Media Group.

Letters   |   Pakistan

CPJ calls on Pakistan to act on pledged commitments to press freedom

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif: We are writing to express our deep concern about the deteriorating climate for press freedom in Pakistan, which undermines recent commitments made by your government during CPJ's mission to the country.

Blog   |   Internet, Pakistan

A year after Snowden revelations, damage persists to freedom of expression in Pakistan

In Pakistan, where freedom of expression is largely perceived as a Western notion, the Snowden revelations have had a damaging effect. The deeply polarized narrative has become starker as the corridors of power push back on attempts to curb government surveillance. "If the citizens of the United States of America cannot have these rights, how can you? .." is an argument that rights advocate hear way too often. The Snowden revelations quickly became a moment of recognition for those otherwise labeled as conspiracy theorists who believed that all digital transmissions become a tool that can be used by the U.S. government. Unlike, for example, Brazil, which has fought back, the government of Pakistan is working on ways it could replicate a NSA-like model in this country.

Blog   |   Pakistan

When Pakistan's largest news channel becomes the news

Today, Pakistan's most watched news channel, Geo News, was ordered off the air and fined by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA). Earlier this week, CPJ documented an attack on Zafar Aheer, an editor of the Urdu-language Daily Jang, by six masked men--the latest in a series of attacks, threats, and acts of intimidation reported by staff working for the Jang/Geo group. 

Statements   |   Pakistan

Pakistani regulator suspends Geo News

New York, June 6, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a decision today by Pakistan's Electronic Media Regulatory Authority to suspend the license of Geo News. The regulator said if the channel does not pay a fine of 10 million rupees (US$100,000) by the end of the 15-day suspension, it will remain off the air, according to news reports.

June 6, 2014 11:22 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Pakistan

Pakistan should renew visas for journalists facing expulsion

New York, May 15, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned about the impending expulsion of two foreign journalists from Pakistan. Meena Menon, a correspondent for The Hindu, and Snehesh Alex Philip, a correspondent for the Press Trust of India, are both Indian journalists. 

Statements   |   India, Pakistan

Indian reporters in Pakistan facing expulsion

New York, May 9, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned that Pakistani authorities might decline to renew visas for the only two Indian journalists working in the country. Authorities on Thursday informed Meena Menon, a correspondent for The Hindu, and Snehesh Alex Philip, a correspondent for the Press Trust of India, that their visas would not be renewed and that they would need to leave the country in one week, The Wall Street Journal reported. CPJ calls on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to honor pledges he made to CPJ earlier this year to ease visa restrictions for foreign journalists. 

Blog   |   Pakistan

Am I a traitor?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Hamid Mir, the executive editor of Pakistan's Geo Television, survived an April 19 assassination attempt, but was badly injured. The shooting came a few weeks after the Pakistani government pledged in a meeting with CPJ to address the insecurity plaguing the country's journalists. Shortly after the attack, some Pakistani media stated that CPJ had received an emailed video from Mir saying that if he were killed, Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) was responsible. Mir recently told CPJ that he had sent a video to his lawyer, who did not send it to CPJ. The ISI has denied the allegation it was behind the attack on Mir, according to news reports. This article was initially published in the daily Urdu-language Jang newspaper on May 5, 2014.


There are two types of traitors.

The first kind includes those who join hands with enemies and help enslave their own people. Among the most prominent of these is Jaffar Ali Khan, whose betrayal, as chief of army in 1757, eventually led to the British rule of the subcontinent. Over time, Jaffar's name has become synonymous with treachery.

Blog   |   Pakistan

A verbatim threat from Pakistan, and more

Here is a cut and paste email message sent to staffers at The News, in Islamabad. We have their explicit permission to use it. Actually, they requested that we use it, in the hope that publicizing it will somehow protect them.

Case   |   Pakistan

Express News Peshawar bureau chief faces attacks

Masked men threw a hand grenade at the home of Express News Bureau Chief Jamshed Baghwan in the Murshadabad neighborhood of Peshawar on April 6, 2014, according to news reports. Baghwan was in his home at the time of the attack, but no one was injured, news accounts said. The main gate of the home and a boundary wall were damaged.

April 23, 2014 10:28 AM ET

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Statements   |   Pakistan

CPJ condemns move by Pakistan's ISI against Geo TV

New York, April 22, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is greatly concerned by actions brought by Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) against Geo Television today. In its complaint to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, the ISI accused Geo's parent company, the Independent Media Corporation, of conducting a "false and scandalous campaign undermining the integrity and tarnishing the image of state institution (ISI) and its officers."

April 22, 2014 4:23 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

In Pakistan, no taxation without investigation

In Pakistan, reporting on the military intelligence services or insurgent groups or machinations within political parties is the normal grist for the media mill. A lot of the coverage relies on reporters with inside sources. The sources use the media as a battleground for their infighting, relying on sympathetic reporters to put forward their positions. It keeps the wildly popular TV talk show hosts occupied and tends to fill the inside pages of newspapers, if not always the front pages. It's not a problem unique to Pakistan, but the country's media have taken it to a very high level.

Reports   |   Afghanistan, Brazil, Colombia, India, Iraq, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Syria

Getting Away With Murder

CPJ’s 2014 Global Impunity Index spotlights countries where journalists are slain and the killers go free

Iraq

Unsolved Murders: 100

Population: 32.6 million

Rank: 1

Somalia

Unsolved Murders: 26

Population: 10.2 million

Rank: 2

The Philippines

Unsolved Murders: 51

Population: 96.7 million

Rank: 3

Sri Lanka

Unsolved Murders: 9

Population: 20.3 million

Rank: 4

Syria

Unsolved Murders: 7

Population: 22.4 million

Rank: 5

Afghanistan

Unsolved Murders: 5

Population: 29.8 million

Rank: 6

Mexico

Unsolved Murders: 16

Population: 120.8 million

Rank: 7

Colombia

Unsolved Murders: 6

Population: 47.7 million

Rank: 8

Pakistan

Unsolved Murders: 22

Population: 179.2 million

Rank: 9

Russia

Unsolved Murders: 14

Population: 143.5 million

Rank: 10

Brazil

Unsolved Murders: 9

Population: 198.7 million

Rank: 11

Nigeria

Unsolved Murders: 5

Population: 168.8 million

Rank: 12

India

Unsolved Murders: 7

Population: 1,237 million

Rank: 13

Blog   |   Pakistan

Meeting commitments in Pakistan

A few days after our CPJ delegation met with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and secured commitments to combat threats to journalists in Pakistan, I sat down with reporters from the country's most restive regions, who described in detail the conditions in which they work. 

Blog   |   Pakistan

What should happen following the Raza Rumi attack

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pledged to form a commission on journalist safety. But there are steps that could be taken more quickly. (Reuters/Dinuka Liyanawatte)

On March 28, gunmen sprayed the car of TV anchor and widely-respected analyst Raza Rumi, a member of the Express Group of media organizations. He escaped serious injury, but his driver, Mustafa, died. It was the fourth attack on the Express Group in eight months, with four people dead. There has been no serious police investigation into the events which took place in Karachi, Peshawar, and now Lahore, where Rumi's car was "bathed in bullets on one of city's main arteries," as The Express Tribune put it in an editorial on Sunday. 

Blog   |   Pakistan

Blacklisted in Baluchistan

Willem Marx, right, launched his book 'Balochistan at a Crossroads' on March 13 in New York City. (CPJ/Sumit Galhotra)

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made a series of commitments to safeguard press freedom during a meeting with a CPJ delegation last week. Among them was a pledge to speak out in support of media freedom and against attacks on journalists, particularly in high-conflict areas like Baluchistan. 

Statements   |   Pakistan

CPJ condemns attack on Pakistani journalist Raza Rumi

New York, March 28, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalist condemns today's attack on the senior Pakistani journalist Raza Rumi in Lahore, which killed his driver. Unidentified gunmen fired on Rumi's car near the Raja Market neighborhood after he left the studio following his TV show. Rumi and his guard were injured, according to news reports. The driver was identified only as Mustafa in reports.

Blog   |   Pakistan

Mission Journal: Hope in Pakistan

For the last decade, Pakistan has been one of the world's most dangerous countries for the media. At least 46 journalists have been killed, 24 of them murdered for the "crime" of covering the intelligence services, the Taliban, separatists in Baluchistan, or the criminal underworld. The result is a legacy of self-censorship and fear among the Pakistan press; critical stories go unreported. 

Alerts   |   Pakistan

In Pakistan, six convicted in Wali Khan Babar murder

New York, March 3, 2014--A Pakistani court on Saturday convicted six defendants for their roles in the murder of Wali Khan Babar, a Geo TV journalist who was shot dead in Karachi in January 2011, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the convictions--the first in the murder of a Pakistani journalist--but calls on authorities to ensure the masterminds are brought to justice.

Alerts   |   Pakistan

Assailants target media outlets in Karachi

New York, February 18, 2014--Pakistani authorities should launch an efficient investigation into attacks against media outlets in Karachi and ensure the perpetrators are held to account, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Attacks on the Press   |   Pakistan

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Pakistan

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif won general elections in May, though the vote was marred by violence, including bomb blasts targeting polling stations. The Pakistani media's nonstop election coverage made news organizations full-fledged partners in the democratic process, intrinsic to the first civilian transfer of power after the completion of a five-year term by a democratically elected government. At least five journalists were killed this year--fewer than in 2012. One was a targeted killing. CPJ continues to investigate the killings of three other journalists in unclear circumstances, two of whom were Baluch. Legislative action stemming from a March conference on the U.N. Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity had yet to materialize, though the government repeated its commitment to enacting legislation. Three correspondents--from The New York Times, The Hindu, and Press Trust of India--were expelled from Pakistan in 2013. The Hindu and PTI were eventually allowed to replace their staff members.

February 12, 2014 1:33 AM ET

Alerts   |   Pakistan

Three media workers killed in attack on Express TV van

New York, January 17, 2014--Pakistani authorities must conduct an efficient and thorough investigation into today's attack on an Express TV van in which three media workers were killed and a cameraman injured, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. This is the third attack in six months on the Express Media Group.

Blog   |   Pakistan

No justice 3 years after Wali Khan Babar murder

Three years have passed since the murder of Geo TV journalist Wali Khan Babar in Karachi. While no justice has been found in Babar's case, his death has not been forgotten. Journalists Beena Sarwar, Umar Cheema, and Malik Siraj Akbar along with CPJ's Bob Dietz commemorated the anniversary of Babar's death on Monday during a HuffPost Live discussion: "Pakistan's Press in Peril?"

January 14, 2014 1:04 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

Shan Dahar's death underscores impunity in Pakistan

After more than a week since journalist Shan Dahar's death, it remains unclear whether he was killed in an accident or targeted for murder--and if targeted, why. The confusion serves as yet another example of how weak investigations and a lack of accountability have become the hallmarks of journalist killings in Pakistan.

« 2013